Skip to main content


Prof Alastair P Hibbins


Metamaterials are rationally designed composites, with structure on a scale-length smaller than the wavelength. Their electromagnetic or acoustic character is different to those of the bulk properties of the ingredients they comprise. At the point of design, we can engineer properties to develop materials capable of manipulating the flow of energy, for example by absorbing, bending or radiating, to achieve benefits that go beyond what is possible with conventional materials. More information about the broader scope of metamaterial research at Exeter can be found on the Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation webpages.‌

Our metamaterial research grew from experimental studies of microwave metamaterials, where the cm- and mm-length scales allow fabrication of complex structures with relative ease, using both conventional workshop and advanced 3D printing techniques.

We also exploit similar advantages of scale through research with acoustic metamaterials, both in air and underwater (SONAR), and we are using metamaterial concepts to manipulate the flow of fluids.

Our metamaterials portfolio exploits synergies with our research in plasmonics, natural photonics and disordered systemsmagnetic materials and THz photonics research.

We are pursuing theoretical and modelling studies to:

  • drive the targeted design of metamaterials,
  • understand the novel fundamental phenomena that can be probed,
  • pioneer the design of new meta-atoms,
  • and explore the functionality of devices that can be envisaged in the future.

The ability to manipulate energy flow through the opportunities offered by metamaterials have relevance for a large number of end-users. We have a long and successful track record of working with industry, with applications including:

  • signature control
  • communications (antennas)
  • imaging
  • tagging
  • security
  • sensing
  • and energy harvesting.

Our recent and current sponsors and collaborators include Dstl, Leonardo, QinetiQ, Thales, PepsiCo, BT, and MBDA.  Read more about the industry application of metamaterials on the Centre for Metamaterial and Innovation website.