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Analysis of Broadband Metamaterial Shielding for Counter-Directed Energy Weapons

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AERP10_09
Published October 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Given the importance of electronics in modern warfare, the ability to rapidly develop a counter to such weapons, such as microwave-absorbent metamaterials, will be essential to sustaining military operations.

Naval Postgraduate School, Monterrey, California

Electromagnetic metamaterials are being developed and employed in a variety of applications such as sensing, imaging and optics, and signature reduction and cloaking. One application of particular interest to the military is the need for electromagnetic protection to defend battlefield electronics against high-power microwave (HPM) directed-energy weapons (DEWs) currently under development worldwide.

HPM DEWs are a popular branch of DEW research, as microwaves propagate in the atmosphere more readily than high-energy lasers or particle beams. HPM DEWs also offer a viable non-kinetic option when collateral damage is to be avoided or a kinetic option is unavailable. However, prior research has demonstrated that properly constructed electromagnetic metamaterials are able to prevent microwave transmission by redirecting the incident wave into either absorption or reflection. Such metamaterial shields are typically designed as composite structures consisting of patterned, conductive elements integrated with dielectric materials and arrayed in a manner that generates a de sired, predictable spectral response. An example of a metamaterial structure can be seen in the accompanying figure. Depending on the application, such metamaterials can become structurally complex, which makes them very difficult to model and simulate, particularly across a large frequency domain.