Narrator: This is Science Today. Physicists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new class of materials that's been theorized but never before seen in nature. Project scientist David Smith says these unique materials essentially reverse many of the physical electromagnetic or light scattering properties governing normal materials, including the Doppler effect.
Smith:The analogy with sound for example, if you see a fire engine coming toward you and it has a siren on, you hear it shifted up in frequency and when it passes, it goes down in frequency. Well, the same thing happens with light. In this "left handed" medium, the opposite occurs.
Narrator: "Left-handed" refers the new materials' ability to reverse one of the "right-hand" rules of physics, such as the direction of electric and magnetic waves. By controlling this direction, there's the potential for new devices.
Smith: The obvious example is the communications industry which is filled with applications and needs of controlling all forms of radiation from microwave down to megahertz radio waves and even up to infrared and light waves.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.