Published on 15 Feb 2024

Wave Scattering? No Way! My Metamaterial Journey from Invisibility Cloaking to Topological Photonics by Prof Zhang Baile

IAS Discovery Science Seminar Jointly Organised with the Graduate Students’ Clubs

On 2 February 2024, Prof Zhang Baile led an intriguing seminar titled "Wave Scattering? No Way! My Metamaterial Journey from Invisibility Cloaking to Topological Photonics," at SPMS. This IAS@NTU Discovery Science seminar jointly organised by the Graduate Student Clubs (GSCs) of EEE, MSE and SPMS in conjunction with IAS@NTU, unfolded the transformative journey of metamaterials, highlighting their pivotal role in pioneering the next wave of advancements in photonics.

Metamaterials, recognised for their exceptional ability to manipulate waves, have sparked the imagination of scientists and the public alike, particularly with the promise of developing "invisibility cloaks." Prof Zhang's seminar explored this captivating concept, demonstrating how these materials can bend light around objects, effectively rendering them invisible. This exploration is not just a testament to the marvels of modern science but also to the boundless possibilities metamaterials hold in revolutionising how we interact with the physical world.

Prof Zhang demonstrating how metamaterials can bend light around objects to give "invisibility cloaks" effect.

Beyond the realm of invisibility, Prof Zhang delved into the equally fascinating world of "photonic topological insulators." This cutting-edge concept, drawing from quantum physics, offers a novel way of guiding waves around obstacles without any reflection, a significant leap forward in creating more efficient and robust communication systems.

Throughout the seminar, Prof Zhang shared insights from his extensive research journey, navigating from the initial intrigue of invisibility cloaking to the complex intricacies of topological photonics. His work not only showcased the breadth of metamaterials' applications but also their depth in potentially reshaping the future of technology.

The seminar concluded with an engaging Q&A session, where Prof Zhang addressed various inquiries from the audience, ranging from the technical challenges of metamaterials to the ethical implications of their applications. His thoughtful responses underscored the seminar's impact, leaving attendees with a deeper appreciation for the transformative potential of metamaterials and a glimpse into the future of photonic innovations.

(Top) Prof Zhang addressing intriguing questions from the students; (Bottom) Group photo with the participants.

In conclusion, Prof Zhang's seminar, offered a compelling narrative of scientific exploration and discovery. It not only highlighted the significant milestones in the field of metamaterials but also paved the way for future explorations in photonic technologies, marking a significant contribution to the ongoing photonic revolution.

Written by Cui Peiyuan and Navaratna Nikhil | School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Graduate Students' Club

Watch the video recording

"Prof Zhang used interesting triggers to captivate students with varying levels of prior knowledge during his presentation" - Zhuang Yihao (PhD student, IGP-ERI@N)

"Good summary of the fields of metamaterials and topological photonics." -  John Eng (PhD student, SPMS)

"Overall it was a good experience."- Samra Kanwal  (PhD student, SUTD)