Metamaterial Designs for Applications in Wireless Power Transfer and Computational Imaging

Thumbnail Image




Lipworth, Guy

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



The advent of resonant metamaterials with strongly dispersive behavior allowed scientists to design new electromagnetic devices -- including (but not limited to) absorbers, antennas, lenses, holograms, and arguably the most well-known of them all, invisibility cloaks -- exhibiting properties that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. At the heart of these breakthrough designs is our ability to model the behavior of individual metamaterial elements as Lorentzian dipoles, and -- in applications that call for it -- collectively model an entire array of such elements as a homogenous medium with effective electromagnetic properties retrieved from measurements or simulations.

Of particular interest in the context of this dissertation is a certain type of metamaterials elements which -- while composed entirely of essentially non-magnetic materials -- respond to a magnetic field, can be modeled as magnetic dipoles, and are able to form a material with effective magnetic response. This thesis describes how such ``magnetic metamaterials'' have been utilized by the author when designing devices for applications in wireless power transfer (WPT) and computational imaging. For the former, I discuss in the thesis a metamaterial implementation of a magnetic `superlens' for wireless power transfer enhancements, and a magnetic reflector for near field shielding. For the latter I detail how we model the imaging capabilities of a recently-introduced class of dispersive metamaterial-based leaky apertures that produce pseudo-random measurement modes, and demonstration of novel Lorentzian-constrained holograms able to tailor their radiation patterns.

To design a magnetic superlens for WPT enhancements, we first demonstrate how an array comprising resonant metamaterial elements can act as an effective medium with negative permeability ($\mu$) and enhance near-field transmission of quasi-static non-resonant coil antennas. We implement a new technique to retrieve all diagonal components of our superlens' permeability, including its normal component, which standard techniques cannot retrieve. We study the effect of different components of the $\mu$ tensor on field enhancements using analytical solutions as well as 2D rotationally-symmetric full-wave simulations which approximate the lens as a disc of equal diameter, enabling highly efficient axisymmetric description of the problem. Our studies indicate enhancements are strongest when all three diagonal components of Re$(\mu)$ are negative, which we attribute to the excitation of surface waves.

The ability to retrieve permeability's normal component, awarded to us with the implementation of the aforementioned retrieval technique, directly enabled the design of a near field magnetic shield, which -- in contrast to the tripple-negative superlens -- relies on the normal component of $\mu$ assuming values near zero. The thesis discusses the theory behind this phenomenon and explains why such an anisotropic slab is capable of reflecting magnetic fields with component of their wave vector parallel to the slab's surface (fields which contain significant portions of the energy transferred in WPT systems with dipole-like coils). Furthermore, the dispersive nature of the resonant metamaterials used to realize the shield grants us the ability to block certain frequencies while allowing the transmission of other, which can be particularly useful in certain applications; conventional materials used for shielding or electromagnetic interference (EMI) suppression, on the other hand, block frequencies indiscriminately.

The thesis also discusses a single-pixel, metamaterial-based aperture we designed for computational imaging purposes. This aperture, termed \textit{metaimager}, forms pseudo-random radiation patterns that vary with frequency by leaking energy from a guided mode via a collection of randomly distributed resonant metamaterial elements. The metaimager, then, is able to interrogate a scene without any moving parts or expensive auxiliary hardware (both are common problems which plague synthetic aperture and phased array systems, respectively). While such a structure cannot be homogenized, when modeling its imaging capabilities we still rely on the fact each of its irises can be modeled analytically as a magnetic dipole using a relatively simple Lorentzian expression. Accurate qualitative modeling of such apertures is of paramount importance in the design and optimization stages, since it allows us to save time and money by avoiding prohibitively slow full-wave simulations of such complex structures and unnecessary fabrication processes.

Lastly, the thesis discusses how such an aperture can be viewed as a hologram in which pixels are realized by the metamaterial elements and the reference wave is realized by the fields that excite them. While the current metaimager implementation produces pseudo-random modes, the last section of the thesis discusses how, by accounting for the Lorentzian constraints of each pixel, a novel metamaterial hologram can be designed to yield tailored radiation patterns. An experiment utilizing a Fraunhofer hologram excited in a free-space illumination configuration indicates tailored modes can indeed be formed by carefully choosing the resonance frequency and location of each metamaterial. While this proof-of-concept example is relatively simple, more sophisticated realizations of such holograms can be explored in future works.





Lipworth, Guy (2015). Metamaterial Designs for Applications in Wireless Power Transfer and Computational Imaging. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.