In the past decade, physicists and engineers pioneered new ways to guide and manipulate light, creating lenses that defy the fundamental limit on the resolution of an ordinary lens and even constructing "cloaks" that make an object invisible—sort of. The feats sprang from a roughly 50–50 mixture of a new technology and one oh-so-clever idea. The technology was "metamaterials": assemblages of little rods, rings, and wires that act like materials with bizarre optical properties. The idea was transformation optics, a scheme that tells scientists how to tailor the properties of a metamaterial to achieve an effect like cloaking.
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