Yifei Zhang, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has created a universal metasurface with 100,000 nanoscale structures.

MIT engineers and their colleagues have reported advances in the tunable metasurface. The main find in the new work is a transparent material that quickly and reversibly changes its atomic structure after heating.

Learning how to quickly change the configuration of metasurfaces will provide tremendous opportunities for creating new applications. We are delighted because the new work removes several obstacles to implementing these metasurfaces in real-world applications.

Yifei Zhang, first author of the article

In the new work, the authors describe how they used electric currents to reversibly change the structure of a material and create optical properties on a new metasurface.

The new material, composed of germanium, selenium, antimony and tellurium (GSST), will help create new versatile metasurfaces.

The new metasurface, in turn, is not just a thin GSST film, its area is only about half a millimeter, covered with a pattern of 100 thousand nanoscale structures. This allows you to control the propagation of light and transform nanostructures, for example, into a lens.