A group of British researches used nano-techology to devise a material that at some point may be employed to manufacture a real-world invisibility cloak. Though the material doesn’t make objects disappear in visible light, it does make them look flat when exposed to electromagnetic waves.
Queen Mary University of London engineers reported this week that a new material comprised of nano-sized particles can somewhat make an object vanish. The team explained that the “cloak” has seven layers of material. Each layer changes electric properties when the object changes its position. As a result, the cloaked object prevents waves from being scattered on its surface.
Engineers said they built their prototype by taking into account the laws of transformation optics, which is an idea scientists have long explored to create a technically-viable invisibility cloak. Professor Yang Hao, leader of the QMUL team, explained that past experiments had shown that the technology can work only at one frequency.
But with six additional layers, the technology can show results at more frequencies. The newly found material could soon have a wide range of applications from optics to aeronautics.
Moreover, researchers dream of nano-antennas and materials coated in nano-composites that can shape any type of electromagnetic surface waves. Additionally, the newly found technology could also have applications in acoustics but researchers declined to detail what those applications may be. They only said that the product could have ” great industrial impact.”
Nevertheless, there is a slim chance that the material would be used to create a human-sized invisibility cloak, as past research had shown that with current technology it is virtually impossible to build such device.
Earlier this month a study published in the journal Optica described the physical limitations o such technology. In the study, researchers at University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering convincingly argued that cloaking technologies which can render an object perfectly invisible in all wavelengths defy the laws of physics.
Texas researchers believe that you can hide something in a specific wavelength, but you cannot do it under the influence of a source of illumination that contains multiple wavelengths such as infrared and visible light.
The Texan team also found that cloaking objects is all the more difficult in shorter wavelengths. This is why you can render a medium-sized communications antenna invisible to radio waves, but it is impossible to make a human or a military vehicle disappear in visible light waves, which are much shorter than radio waves.
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