Optical metamaterials capture the imagination with breathtaking promises of nanoscale resolution in imaging and invisibility cloaking. We demonstrate an approach to construct a metamaterial in which metallic nanorods, of dimension much smaller than the wavelength of light, are suspended in a fluid and placed in a nonuniform electric field. The field controls the spatial distribution and orientation of nanorods because of the dielectrophoretic effect. The field-controlled placement of nanorods causes optical effects such as varying refractive index, optical anisotropy (birefringence), and reduced visibility of an object enclosed by the metamaterial.

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