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Dispersion Management with Metamaterials

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed new method for dispersion compensation in telecommunication systems using metamaterials.

A proof-of-concept a dispersion-compensation system using phase-engineered metamaterials has been demonstrated experimentally, and ISU is seeking partners interested in commercializing this technology.
Dispersion management is a critical part of optical communication systems since the accumulation of dispersive effects due to propagation in a glass fiber results in limits on the distance data can travel as well as the rate of data transfer.  Approaches for dispersion compensation include the use of specialty fibers, which can require long lengths, and Bragg gratings, which can suffer from insertion loss.  To address the need for improved strategies for dispersion management, ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a new method for dispersion compensation using metamaterials that exhibit electromagnetically induced transparency.  This approach counteracts group velocity dispersion without the need for specialty fiber or Bragg gratings.  In addition, these phase-engineered materials are customizable and compact.
• Eliminates the need for Bragg gratings
• Eliminates the need for long pieces of specialty fiber optic cable
• Offers customizability and a small footprint
Applications and Industries


More Information

Publication: Dastmalchi, B. et al. 2014. Strong group-velocity dispersion compensation with phase-engineered sheet metamaterials. Phys. Rev. B 89: 115123.

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Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 9,588,255
Dispersion management with metamaterials
An apparatus, system, and method to counteract group velocity dispersion in fibers, or any other propagation of electromagnetic signals at any wavelength (microwave, terahertz, optical, etc.) in any other medium. A dispersion compensation step or device based on dispersion-engineered metamaterials is included and avoids the need of a long section of specialty fiber or the need for Bragg gratings (which have insertion loss).
Technology Status
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To: Craig Forney<>