A metamaterial is created that can protect against radiation

The first manned flight into space was not yesterday. But the unexplored space has not yet been studied. It beckons with its mysteriousness and, of course, possible colossal prospects. But, due to the fact that this is a relatively new field of research, scientists face many problems. The open space of space is not very suitable for people’s lives. However, this does not stop scientists in inventing ways to protect the body from the effects of that environment. When astronauts find themselves in space, they experience a lot of inconvenience. Low gravity prevents the normal functioning of the body, and high levels of radiation increase the risk of cancer and other diseases. To this end, the research group of the Australian National University has developed a metamaterial that dynamically reflects radiation.

The prefix «meta» means «outside» (Greek), and the term «metamaterials» is considered a structure in which the efficiency of electromagnetic properties exceeds the properties of components. These materials are created artificially, by introducing various periodic structures into the original material.

So, why did you ever need to create an unusual material? Radiation from the Sun (and not only) was a serious problem for scientists involved in space exploration programs. A spaceship, spacesuits, a space station and even various instruments are covered with thick layers of protective material. This is very inconvenient, because all objects become cumbersome, and it is very difficult to move in such protective suits. Ideally, you need to make a thin material that can protect the astronaut from harmful radiation without hampering his movements.

And this happened. Not perfect, of course, but very promising. The created metamaterial perfectly protects from radiation of radiation, and thus it is very thin. In fact, this film, which consists of nanoparticles. They reflect light waves of a certain length. (ultraviolet and infrared rays, in this situation). Different layers of this film can avoid light, and the man can adjust the metamaterial settings, namely, change the temperature. When the new material is cooled, the nanoparticles are compressed, if heated — expand, and at the same time more or less reflect.

Now a new problem has arisen: how will the heating elements be integrated into the metamaterial? Temperature control is possible in several ways (for example, through microheaters that can be sewn into the material), but scientists still do not know how to best adjust the efficiency of the reflection of different radiation. Metamaterial protects astronauts from infrared and ultraviolet radiation, but it is useless to high-energy particles. However, the existing spacesuits also do not cope with this task. But, at least, the new material already has better characteristics. And with further refinement, this can be used to create very light, mobile «space suits.»