Prof. Bargatin’s group has pioneered new types of mechanical metamaterials that form robust plates out of ultrathin films. These are the thinnest plates one can handle with bare hands. These structures are extremely flat and thin (down to 35 nm), and weigh as little as 0.1 gram per square meter. Despite being made out of a brittle material (aluminum oxide), they are also remarkably robust, recovering their original shape after extreme bending deformations (see the series of photographs below or watch a video from our recent Nature Communications paper).
Another example of a plate mechanical metamaterial is provided by nanocardboard, a hollow plate with nanoscale thickness that offers the optimal scaling of stiffness with height and weight. Details can be found in another Nature Communications paper.
Watch these videos from Prof. Bargatin’s YouTube channel: