Charged particles moving faster than light in a medium produce Cherenkov radiation. In traditional, positive index-of-refraction materials this radiation travels forward. Metamaterials, with negative indices of refraction, flip the radiation backward. This readily separates it from the particles, providing higher flexibility in photon manipulation and is useful for particle identification and counting. Here we review recent advances in reversed Cherenkov radiation research, including the first demonstration of backward emission. We also discuss the potential for developing new types of devices, such as ones that pierce invisibility cloaks.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(11)70020-7