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Graphene metamaterials

Advanced optical materials made possible using graphene


Plasmonic nanostructures are used to create metamaterials with unusual optical properties. Most metamaterials to date have been constructed using noble metals, however, these metals have inherent losses that degrade the metamaterial's optical properties.

Graphene does not have these limitations, and by tuning graphene’s properties, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered a new way of creating improved metamaterials.


Layers of graphene can be dynamically tuned to control their conductivity. Different electrical fields can be applied to change the conductivity of certain regions of a graphene layer. The change in conductivity results in controlled optical properties for graphene metamaterials. Surface plasmons are highly confined on single-layer graphene, resulting in improved optical performance as compared to noble metal metamaterials. Optical waveguides, Fresnel optics, Luneburg lenses, and other optical devices can be created using single layers of graphene.


  • Improved optical properties as compared to noble metal metamaterials
  • Single-layer graphene construction can be used to create one-atom-thick optical elements

Stage of Development: 

Laboratory proof of concept

Intellectual Property: 

Patent pending

Reference Media: 

Vakil, A., & Engheta, N. (2011). Transformation optics using graphene Science, 332(6035), 1291-1294. (Graphic featured referenced from this article)

Desired Partnerships: 

License or Sponsored Research  
Patent Information:


Docket # W5607

For Information, Contact:

Pamela Beatrice Director, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania