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Materials and structures whose index of refraction can be tuned over a broad range of negative and positive values by applying above band-gap photons to a structure with a strip line element, a split ring resonator element, and a substrate, at least one of which is a photoconductive semiconductor material. Methods for switching between positive and negative values of n include applying above band-gap photons to different numbers of elements. In another embodiment, a structure includes a photoconductive semiconductor wafer, the wafer operable to receive above band-gap photons at an excitation frequency in an excitation pattern on a surface of the wafer, the excitation patterns generating an effective negative index of refraction. Methods for switching between positive and negative values of n include projecting different numbers of elements on the wafer. The resonant frequency of the structure is tuned by changing the size of the split ring resonator excitation patterns.