Invisibility Cloaks have often been featured in fantasy and science fiction films and literature. The object is usually endowed with magical capabilities, that when worn, renders the wearer of the cloakcompletely invisible. But until recently, the idea what thought of only as something out of a fairytale or science fiction. Some Physicists in Texas have developed a scientific way to make objects appear “invisible”, however, this is only possible within a limited range of light waves.
Science fiction or science fact? The University of Texas are working on a new material capable of invisible cloaking.
New Material Changes Technology
According to a recent report that was published in the New Journal of Physics, researchers at the University of Texas in Austin have created an innovative material that they call a ‘mantle cloak’. When an object is wrapped in the hi-tech material, the object disappears. The technology has not yet advanced enough to compete with Harry Potter’s magical cloak, and so far, the effect only happens when applied to limited light waves, or more specifically, microwaves.
In their research, scientists took a cylinder that was about a foot long and around an inch in diameter, and covered it in the material. Microwave detectors were unable to pick up on the object, though it did still remain visible to the human eye. However, the researchers claim that this concept can be transferred to the range of perceptible light, which in theory, would make the cloaked object invisible to the human eye.
The Material’s Makeup
When creating the material, the scientists combined copper tape with polycarbonate, which is a commonly used material for manufacturing CDs and DVDs. The result is a material with a very small pattern, which neutralizes light waves as they bounce of its surface. For the material to function as intended, the pattern needs to be roughly the same size as the lights wavelength in order to be cancelled out, which limits the range of waves in which the cloak will work.
Uses for the Invisibility Technology
The researchers are excited about this advancement in technology because it could potentially be a great asset for nanotechnology, and could be also useful in the fields of specialty optics and biotechnology.
Time will tell how quickly this new technology advances, but it would be really amazing if it progressed to the point of actually being able to render a human, or even larger objects, such as military vehicles, completely invisible.
[Images via ecouterre & demonsresume]