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June 11, 2007

Prominent Russian physicist to give lecture at Discovery Park

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Russian physicist Victor Veselago, whose research in 1967 gave birth to the scientific field of metamaterials, will give a lecture at 3 p.m. Tuesday (June 12) at Purdue University and tour research laboratories in Discovery Park's Birck Nanotechnology Center.

His lecture, "Electrodynamics of Materials with Negative Refraction," will be in the Birck Nanotechnology Center, Room 1001. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"Dr. Veselago is a living legend in the world of metamaterials," said Vladimir Shalaev, a professor in Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Veselago (pronounced vee-sa-la-go), head of the Magnetic Materials Institute of General Physics for the Russian Academy of Sciences, nearly 40 years ago theoretically envisioned negative permeability materials, which are artificially engineered nanostructures. At certain frequencies, these nanostructures show negative permeability, allowing them to focus near-field light.

A negative refractive index, which is not found in nature, would allow scientists to construct new types of microscopes with unprecedented resolution and telecommunications devices with better performance. It also could pave the way for creating novel photonic devices.

Veselago actually presented his famous discovery on the negative refractive index to a  Purdue audience in 1969 in what was the first public lecture on his research outside Russia.

Shalaev, who has a lab at the Birck Nanotechnology Center, led a Purdue team of engineers to become the first researchers to create a material that has a "negative index of refraction" in the wavelength of light used for fiber-optic telecommunications.

Recently, Shalaev's group demonstrated a negative-index material in the visible part of the spectrum in research that could render an object invisible. The device uses nanoscale needles - objects so small that they're measured in billionths of a meter - and layers them in a cylindrical shape around a central spoke, like a winding staircase.

Veselago, a professor at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, graduated from Moscow University in 1952 and received his doctoral degree in 1959 for radiospectropy investigation of molecular spectra. He won the State Prize for Science in Russia in 1976 and the V.A. Fock Prize in 2004 for his work in electrodynamics, solid-state physics and negative refraction.

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources: Vladimir Shalaev, (765) 494-9855, shalaev@ecn.purdue.edu

George Adams, (765) 494-2698, gba@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Journalists who want more information about Victor Veselago's visit to Purdue and Discovery Park can contact Phillip Fiorini, Purdue News Service, at (765) 496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

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