The University of Maryland's Igor Smolyaninov has presented what his group calls a "magnifying superlens." Initially inspired by John Pendry's "perfect lens" idea, and drawing upon the Princeton hyperlens and U-Penn crystal lens concepts as well as Maryland's previous work, the magnifying superlens uses alternating layers of negative- and positive-index-of-refraction metamaterials.
In negative-refraction metamaterials, light or other electromagnetic radiation bends in the opposite direction than it would in ordinary matter, making it potentially very useful for focusing images. The new device succeeds in magnifying the object while resolving details as tiny as 70 nanometers, much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. (Paper JMA4, CLEO/QELS; also see Smolyaninov et al., Science, 315, 1699-1701, 23 March 2007).