Scientists Develop Flexible Skin That Can Hide Objects From Radar

Posted: Mar 8 2016, 10:43am CST | by , Updated: Mar 8 2016, 9:57pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Scientists Develop Flexible Skin that Can Hide Objects from Radar
Photo Courtesy of Liang Dong

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Meta-skin technology holds promise for military uses and for coating future stealth aircrafts.

Scientists have developed a new stretchable and flexible skin that works like a magic cape. It has the capacity to hide an object from the sharp eyes of a radar.

The new device, called ‘meta-skin,’ contains rows of small, liquid metamaterial that can alter electromagnetic waves and trap a wide range of radar frequencies.

This technology holds promise for military uses as well as for covering next generation stealth aircrafts.

“It is believed that the present meta-skin technology will find many applications in electromagnetic frequency tuning, shielding and scattering suppression.” Study reads.

Metamaterials possess unique properties that are not found in natural materials. Therefore, they can be utilized in many ways from suppressing the waves to filtering to cloaking.

The material is made up of split ring resonators embedded inside the silicon sheet. Each of the rings has a radius of just a tenth of an inch and thickness of half a millimeter, creating a small, curved segment of liquid wire. Rings are filled with galinstan.

Together, rings can suppress and trap radar waves at a certain frequency. When the sheet is stretched, the size of the liquid metal rings changes and eventually causes to change the radar frequency.

“Recently the inclusion of liquid metal as active components has opened up new ways to realize stretchable and flexible electrons. By injecting liquid metal into a template, the metal can take on a specific shape to form stretchable electronic devices, such as electrical interconnectors, electrical probes, antennas, microelectrodes in microfluidic devices, switchable metamaterial microfluidic platforms, and artificial skin sensors.” Authors wrote in the study.

“We demonstrate that by stretching multiple layers of meta-skins along their surface in a planar direction and by changing the spacing between the meta-skin layers in a vertical direction, the meta-skins can perform as a high performance tunable frequency selective surface with a broad tuning range. Furthermore, the meta-skin is able to wrap an interaction object with any arbitrary shapes.”

The meta-skin technology is different from traditional stealth technologies. It has a capacity to reflect the waves back to the direction from which they come.

“The long term goal is to shrink the size of these devices,” said co-author Liang Dong from Iowa State University. “Then, hopefully we can do this with higher frequency electromagnetic waves such as visible or infrared light.”

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