Genetic Algorithm Used to Develop Broadband Metamaterial
Designing something to be as efficient as possible can be very tricky, depending on what it is, but clever algorithms do exist to help the process. One system that is tricky to optimize is metamaterials, which possess properties not found in Nature. Researchers at Penn State recently designed a broadband metamaterial with a genetic algorithm to achieve the best performance possible.
The laws of physics can be described mathematically, and this truth has some interesting consequences as it means we can bend the laws with math to create some otherwise impossible materials. Metamaterials are materials that have been carefully engineered with properties that cannot exist in Nature, such as negative indices of refraction. To create their new metamaterial, the Penn State researchers used a genetic algorithm, which operates by testing multiple candidates. The most successful candidates are preserved and randomly combined to produce a new generation of candidates, which are then tested to determine the best candidates again. After so many generations, you arrive at what should be a very successful result.
In this case the result is a metamaterial that uses a special pattern of palladium to absorb a broad range of wavelengths and could be used to shield objects form infrared sensors and to protect instruments. While the metamaterial itself may have some interesting uses, it is the use a genetic algorithm that may be the most important aspect of this research, by demonstrating that they can be used to design metamaterials
Source: Penn State