Directed subwavelength imaging using a layered metal-dielectric system

B. Wood, J.B. Pendry, Din-ping Tsai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

544 Citations (Scopus)


We examine some of the optical properties of a metamaterial consisting of thin layers of alternating metal and dielectric. We can model this material as a homogeneous effective medium with anisotropic dielectric permittivity. When the components of this permittivity have different signs, the behavior of the system becomes very interesting: the normally evanescent parts of a P -polarized incident field are now transmitted, and there is a preferred direction of propagation. We show that a slab of this material can form an image with subwavelength details, at a position which depends on the frequency of light used. The quality of the image is affected by absorption and by the finite width of the layers; we go beyond the effective-medium approximation to predict how thin the layers need to be in order to obtain subwavelength resolution. © 2006 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115116
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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