Metamaterials are artificial materials engineered to provide properties which "may not be readily available in nature". These materials usually gain their properties from structure rather than composition, using the inclusion of small inhomogeneities to enact effective macroscopic behavior.
The primary research in metamaterials investigates materials with negative refractive index. Negative refractive index materials appear to permit the creation of superlenses which can have a spatial resolution below that of the wavelength, and a form of 'invisibility' has been demonstrated at least over a narrow wave band. Although the first metamaterials were electromagnetic, acoustic and seismic metamaterials are also areas of active research
Potential applications of metamaterials are diverse and include remote aerospace applications, sensor detection and infrastructure monitoring, smart solar power management, public safety, radomes, high-frequency battlefield communication and lenses for high-gain antennas, improving ultrasonic sensors, and even shielding structures from earthquakes.
The research in metamaterials is interdisciplinary and involves such fields as electrical engineering, electromagnetics, solid state physics, microwave and antennae engineering, optoelectronics, classic optics, material sciences, semiconductor engineering, nanoscience and others.