Scientists Are Getting Closer To Creating A Real-Life Invisibility Cloak

Posted: Jul 15 2016, 9:29pm CDT | by , Updated: Jul 17 2016, 9:39pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Scientists are Getting Closer to Creating a Real-Life Invisibility Cloak
The cloak is in use. Credit: Luigi La Spada

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An object has been made to disappear by using a material made up of nano-size particles.

Imagine if you could become invisible. Wearing an invisibility cloak and sneaking in and out of rooms without being noticed would be real fun.

Now, scientists are getting one step closer to creating a real-life invisibility cloak. They have made an object hide completely by using a material made of tiny particles.

Researchers from Queen Mary College of London have demonstrated for the first time how a cloaking device can make curved surfaces look flat to electromagnetic waves. Though the device is not anything like Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, it certainly has wider implications from hiding objects of different sizes and shapes to shielding military troops.

“The design is based upon transformation optics, a concept behind the idea of the invisibility cloak,” said co-author Professor Yang Hao.

"Previous research has shown this technique working at one frequency. However, we can demonstrate that it works at a greater range of frequencies making it more useful for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the aerospace industry.”

Invisibility cloaks are designed to bend light around an object. They cannot exactly make an object invisible. Instead, they can cleverly reflect light to create an illusion that a thick object is completely flat.

The new cloak has seven distinct layers (called graded index nanocomposite) and has been shown to cover an object and by manipulating certain wavelengths of light make it invisible.

“The study and manipulation of surface waves is the key to develop technological and industrial solutions in the design of real-life platforms, for different application fields,” said lead author Dr Luigi La Spada.

“We demonstrated a practical possibility to use nanocomposites to control surface wave propagation through advanced additive manufacturing. Perhaps most importantly, the approach used can be applied to other physical phenomena that are described by wave equations, such as acoustics. For this reason, we believe that this work has a great industrial impact.”

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