Example of a non-reciprocal bi-anisotropic metamaterial geometry, which explicitly violates spatial and time reversal symmetries. An elementary unit of the split ring-based “perfect magnetoelectric metamaterial” design is supplemented with a magnetized ferrite particle. The particle is magnetized and shifted along the x-direction with respect to the center of the split ring. The particle magnetization is proportional to the required gx in a given location.
Electromagnetic metamaterials are capable of emulating many exotic space-time geometries, such as black holes, rotating cosmic strings, and the big bang singularity. Here we present a metamaterial-based model of the Alcubierre warp drive, and study its limitations due to available range of material parameters. It appears that the material parameter range introduces strong limitations on the achievable “warp speed”, so that ordinary magnetoelectric materials cannot be used. On the other hand, newly developed “perfect” bi-anisotropic non-reciprocal magnetoelectric metamaterials should be capable of emulating the physics of warp drive gradually accelerating up to 1/4c.
Light rays propagation inside the metamaterial model of the warp drive operating at 1/4c. Rays are emitted by a point source located at the origin point (0,0,0) of the coordinate frame inside the “warp bubble”. Boundaries of the warp bubble are located at x=±5.
Electromagnetic metamaterials are capable of emulating the warp drive metric. Since energy conditions violations do not appear to be a problem in this case, metamaterial realization of the warp drive is possible. Our result is interesting because the body of evidence collected so far seemed to indicate that the warp drives operating at any speed (even sub-luminal) were strictly prohibited by the laws of Nature
We can build a toy model of a warp drive “operating” at one quarter light speed.
“Perfect” magnetoelectric metamaterials can be built based on such designs as split ring resonators, fishnet structures, etc. This would allow experimentalists to reach the limiting values and make a lab model of the warp drive possible.
An actual laboratory demonstration of a metamaterial warp drive space time would require a non-reciprocal bi-anisotropic metamaterial, in which both spatial and time reversal symmetries are broken. In addition, the metamaterial loss issue has to be overcome.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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