Electromagnetic metamaterials are now well-established, enabling a variety of practical devices, as well as serving as a platform for the investigation of fundamental physical phenomena. Both fundamental and applied metamaterials research benefit greatly by coupling electromagnetic and mechanical degrees of freedom. I will review our recent activities in this area, demonstrating how elastic deformation can tune the properties of metamaterials to change the focal length of a flat lens, create metamaterials liquid crystals, engineer spectrally tunable THz detectors, and to tune a structure between achiral and chiral configurations. I will also show how coupling optical forces to metamaterials leads to interesting nonlinear phenomena, including spontaneous and explicit symmetry breaking, bistability and self-oscillations.
Dr David Powell received his PhD in Electronic and Communications Engineering from RMIT University in 2006, working with surface acoustic wave (SAW) biosensors. Since then he has worked as a researcher in the Nonlinear Physics Centre at RSPE, and currently holds the position of Fellow. His current research interests cover metamaterials in optical, terahertz, microwave and acoustic domains, with particular emphasis on techniques for engineering their nonlinear and tunable responses. His expertise covers both experimental studies, and the development of specialised computational modelling techniques.