Foundation Announces Simons Collaboration on Extreme Wave Phenomena Based on Symmetries

The Simons Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of the Simons Collaboration on Extreme Wave Phenomena Based on Symmetries, directed by Andrea Alù of Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Illustration of wave phenomena

Symmetries and symmetry breaking play a crucial role in defining a wide range of natural phenomena. Symmetries at the microscopic scale govern the bulk response of materials, and they fundamentally define the constitutive relations that describe the way in which waves, like light and sound, propagate in natural materials. In the last few years, there has been a growing recognition that engineered (artificial) complex media, or metamaterials, can open totally new directions in terms of manipulating and controlling wave propagation and transport processes — a game-changing paradigm for a broad range of technologies, from wireless communications to biomedical sciences, and from laser technologies to energy harvesting and computing.

Illustration of wave phenomena

This interdisciplinary collaboration builds on the recent concerted realization that advanced symmetry principles can guide the design and synthesis of new metamaterials with exotic wave properties, providing tools for the design and implementation of groundbreaking functional properties and enabling extreme forms of wave manipulation. The parallel discovery of new theoretical concepts for wave physics in complex media combined with the extraordinary recent progress in nanotechnologies and nanofabrication of engineered materials make the purpose of this collaboration extremely timely. Leveraging tools from applied mathematics, theoretical and computational physics, modern optics and photonics, acoustics and mechanics, this effort has the overarching goal of developing a unified theory for classical wave transport in metamaterials based on symmetries, driving the discovery of new forms of synthetic matter enabling extreme control of waves of different nature, and the implementation of these concepts in a plethora of new devices and breakthrough technology.

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