Electrically reconfigurable metamaterial with spatially varied refractive index is proposed for applications such as optical devices and lenses. The apparatus and method comprises a metamaterial in which the refractive indices are modified in space and time by applying one or more electric fields. The metamaterials are electrically controllable and reconfigurable, and consist of metal (gold, silver, etc.) particles of different shapes, such as rods, with dimension much smaller than the wavelength of light, dispersed in a dielectric medium. The metamaterial is controlled by applying a non-uniform electric field that causes two effects: (1) It aligns the metallic anisometric particles with respect to the direction of the applied electric field and (2) It redistributes particles in space, making their local concentration position dependent.
The United States Government has a paid-up license in this invention and may have the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Grant MURI/AFOSR #FA9550-06-1-0337 and DE-FG02-06ER46331 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.