Have We [Almost] Invented an Invisibility Cloak?
The idea of invisibility invades almost every facet of our culture. From depictions of super heroes with the power of invisibility to turn-of-phrases like “to be a fly on the wall…” , there is something intoxicating about the idea of being unseen. But, is science ready to make this fantasy a reality?
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London claim they are getting closer to creating an actual material that can objects appear invisible. Rather than actually making something invisible, though, it is more of a “cloaking” device. It uses a nanocomposite medium to make raised objects appear flat. It utilizes seven distinct layers with electric properties and, through this, hide an object that would have caused surface waves to be scattered.
The results were published in Scientific Reports on June 17th in a piece called “Surface Wave Cloak from Graded Refractive Index Nanocomposites” which you can check out here.
Though eavesdropping might be an added, fun benefit, the research is aimed to have a more practical application in the fields of enigneering, optics, and acoustics, or, really, anything relating to electromagnetic surface waves.
The best news? The manufacturing process is, allegedly, “inexpensive and highly reproducible”…though this process/material hasn’t been revealed to us, yet.
The above picture is from Flickr User Jon Gosier and is licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.