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Phys Rev Lett. 2009 May 15;102(19):193903. Epub 2009 May 14.

Anomalous refraction of light colors by a metamaterial prism.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering-Instituto de TelecomunicaƧƵes, University of Coimbra, 3030 Coimbra, Portugal.


A prism of glass separates white light into its spectral components in such a manner that colors associated with shorter wavelengths are more refracted than the colors associated with longer wavelengths. Here, we demonstrate that this property is not universal, and that a lossless metamaterial prism with a suitable microstructure may enable a broadband regime of anomalous dispersion, where the spectral components of light are separated in an unconventional way, so that "violet light" is less refracted than "red light." This phenomenon is fundamentally different from conventional anomalous dispersion effects, which are invariably accompanied by significant loss and are typically very narrow band.

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