Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This episode of DNews is brought to you by Canon PIXMA Pro professional inkjet printers: Exactly as you envisioned. Each element in the periodic table has special properties, and sometimes combining them together gets a good result, but it's hard to do! What if they could be combined using simple home office equipment? I was sent a study this week and looked at it blankly for an hour before I really got it. It was about the plasmonics of metamaterials. Yeah. Plasmonics is the study of the interaction between electromagnetic fields and free electrons in metals. Metamaterials are precisely engineered components which have properties that wouldn't show up in nature. Essentially, it's how the design and engineering of a thing can affect the behavior of electromagnetic energy, like electricity or light. Metamaterials can be used to create invisibility cloaks, changing how light interacts with a blanket of special elements, or protect sensitive astronauts in space be changing how cosmic radiation is absorbed or reflected. They even built a black hole analog in a lab using plasmonic metamaterials. The value of the metamaterial was discovered just after World War II when scientists and engineers were trying to develop new technologies to interact with radio, microwave and light frequencies. Today, engineers are working to use metamaterials affect commercial, military and scientific applications! And thanks to a study in Advanced Optical Materials, they don't have to use millions of dollars of equipment to do it! As you might imagine, creating these things can cost millions of dollars and take months with specialized equipment, until recently. Carbon is one of the most common elements on the planet; think, coal, diamonds, humans. It's really variable, but organized into a lattice at the molecular level? Then you get graphene, a 1-atom thick perfect electrical capacitor! Roll that into tubes and it's super strong! Layer it with copper and you get a metamaterial -- a highly engineered structure that is 500 times stronger than the pure metal. The best part, graphene can be printed with a regular inkjet printer. Engineers are problem solvers, and the faster you can solve a problem, the more things you can fix. Now, thanks to researchers at the University of Utah, metamaterials can be created using a regular four-color inkjet printer loaded with carbon and silver "ink." Using that, researchers were able to build 10 different sample prototypes in a fraction of the time of traditional manufacturing, and the materials could be tested against terahertz-waves to ensure they block and reflect them JUST right. The researchers were pumped that a simple inkjet printer could create super intricate plasmonic metamaterials, which makes frickin' sense. Other studies have shown they can print graphene too. Who knew these things would be so useful!? These researchers say the ability to create these prototypes might revolutionize the engineering of wireless data transmission, magnetic materials, the sensing of biological weapons, and even spacecraft insulation! Speaking of inkjet printers, we’d like to thank Canon for making this episode possible. With Canon PIXMA Pro Professional inkjet printers, you can expect a level of quality and accuracy that keeps each print true to your unique vision. All backed by Canon's commitment to provide professionals with fast, high quality service you can depend on. Do you have a question for me and Tara?