Generalized continua and Metamaterials (META)

French side leader : Nicolas Auffray (
Italian side leader : Antonio Carcaterra (

Metamaterials is a transverse topic in contemporary physics. In the present project, attention will be focused on mechanical metamaterials. Oddly enough, mechanical metamaterials attracted the attention of physicists only after the conception and introduction of optical or electromagnetic metamaterials and include the important class of acoustic metamaterials, which have very small or vanishing shear resistance.
Metamaterials can be described by continuum models involving intrinsic microstructural lengths so that the interplay between the wave length of the dynamical system involved in the use of a metamaterial and this microstructure length dictates their behavior. As early as in the 1960s, it was shown that elastic strain gradient or micromorphic systems exhibit a dispersive response to elastic waves and even possible band gaps.
Specific examples of actions within the LIA range from general formulations continuum theories to specific design of microstructures behaving as meta materials. The corresponding research program consists in:

  1. exploring the fundamentals of generalized continua and deriving their static and dynamical properties,
  2. homogenizing periodic or random systems to derive effective generalized continua,
  3. developing a design strategy to select microstructures potentially amenable to meta- properties,
  4. designing metamaterials in which the formation of boundary layers allows for energy trapping and localization; designing metamaterials which act as frequency filters for controlling wave propagation; designing metamaterial for bio-mechanical applications,
  5. rapid prototyping of such systems to validate the expected properties and envisage real applications.