Date: Wednesday, 21st October 2015
Time: 2015 – 2145
Venue: Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, Clarendon Laboratory, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU
Electromagnetism encompasses much of modern technology. Its influence rests on our ability to deploy materials that can control the component electric and magnetic fields. A new class of materials has created some extraordinary possibilities such as a negative refractive index, and lenses whose resolution is limited only by the precision with which we can manufacture them. Cloaks have been designed and built that hide objects within them, but remain completely invisible to external observers. The new materials, named metamaterials, have properties determined as much by their internal physical structure as by their chemical composition and the radical new properties to which they give access promise to transform our ability to control much of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Professor Sir John Pendry is a condensed matter theorist at Imperial College, London. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1969 and worked at Bell Labs from 1972-1973. He has held his professorship in the Blackett Laboratory (Imperial College, London) since 1981. Shortly after, he became the head of the Physics Department and is currently the Chair in Theoretical Solid State Physics. He was named a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in 2005 and knighted (Knight Bachelor) in 2004.
Professor Sir Pendry has worked extensively on electronic and structural properties of surfaces developing the theory of low energy diffraction and of electronic surface states. Another interest is transport in disordered systems where he produced a complete theory of the statistics oftransport in one dimensional systems. In 1992 he turned his attention to photonic materials and this project culminated in the proposal in 2000 for a ‘perfect lens’ whose resolution is unlimited by wavelength. These concepts have stimulated further theoretical investigations and many experiments which have confirmed the predicted properties. More recently in 2006, in collaborationwith David Smith at Duke University, he has proposed a recipe for a cloak that can hide an arbitrary object from electromagnetic fields. Several realizations of this concept have been built some operating at radar and others at visible wavelengths.