An omnidirectional retroreflector based on the transmutation of dielectric singularities

Yun Gui Ma, C. K. Ong, Tomas Tyc, Ulf Leonhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


Transformation optics(1-6) is a concept used in some metamaterials(7-11) to guide light on a predetermined path. In this approach, the materials implement coordinate transformations on electromagnetic waves to create the illusion that the waves are propagating through a virtual space. Transforming space by appropriately designed materials makes devices possible that have been deemed impossible. In particular, transformation optics has led to the demonstration of invisibility cloaking for microwaves(12,13), surface plasmons(14) and infrared light(15,16). Here, on the basis of transformation optics, we implement a microwave device that would normally require a dielectric singularity, an infinity in the refractive index. To fabricate such a device, we transmute(17) a dielectric singularity in virtual space into a mere topological defect in a real metamaterial. In particular, we demonstrate an omnidirectional retroreflector(18,19), a device for faithfully reflecting images and for creating high visibility from all directions. Our method is robust, potentially broadband and could also be applied to visible light using similar techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)639-642
Number of pages4
JournalNature Materials
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


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