Indexed on: 10 Oct '05Published on: 10 Oct '05Published in: Physics - Materials Science
New types of tunable composite materials are considered, the effective microwave permittivity of which may depend on an external dc magnetic field or tensile stress. The composites consist of short pieces of conductive ferromagnetic microwires embedded into a dielectric matrix. The short wire inclusions play a role of the elementary scatterers, when the electromagnetic wave irradiates the composite and induces a longitudinal current distribution and electrical dipole moment in each inclusion. These induced dipole moments form the dipole response, which can be characterized by some complex effective permittivity. The later may have a resonance or relaxation dispersion caused by the strong current distribution along a wire, which depends on the wire high frequency surface impedance. In the vicinity of the resonance frequency any variations in the wire surface impedance result in a large change of the current distribution, and hence in the dipole moment of each inclusion and the effective permittivity on the whole. For a ferromagnetic conductive microwire, the surface impedance may depend not only on its conductivity but also on the dc external magnetic field and tension through the so-called magneto-impedance effect (MI). Therefore, the dispersion of the effective permittivity can be tuned from a resonance type to a relaxation type, when a sufficient magnetic field or tensile stress is applied to the composite sample. A number of applications can be proposed, including the stress-sensitive media for remote non-destructive health monitoring of different structures, and selective microwave coatings with field-dependent reflection/transmission coefficients.