A method for predicting the behavior of the permittivity and permeability of an engineered material by examining the measured S-parameters of a material sample is devised, assuming that the sample is lossless and symmetric. The S-parameter conditions under which the material parameters extracted using the Nicolson-Ross-Weir method may be associated with a lossless homogeneous material are described. Also, the relationship between the signs of the real and imaginary parts of the permittivity and permeability are determined, both when the extracted material parameters are real and when they are complex. In particular, the conditions under which metamaterials exhibit double-negative properties may be predicted from the S-parameters of a metamaterial sample. The relationships between material characteristics and the S-parameters should prove useful when synthesizing materials to have certain desired properties. Examples, both from experiment and simulation, demonstrate that the relationships may be used to understand the behavior of several different categories of engineered materials, even when the materials have appreciable loss.
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