Researchers develop world’s thinnest invisibility cloak

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 26, 2013
Researchers develop world’s thinnest invisibility cloak

Researchers have created what some are dubbing the real-world equivalent of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, which measures in at just 0.15mm thin, a far cry from the bulky invisibility devices that have been created in the past. In addition, rather than using metamaterials like other invisibility cloaks, this one is made from copper and polycarbonate.

The cloak was developed by researchers at the University of Texas in Austin, with the material being wrapped around the cylinder you see in the image above. There’s a wrapping of copper and polycarbonate, with the copper being patterned, causing scattered light from the object and cloak to be cancelled out. In this case, the cloak successfully hides objects from microwaves, such as what is used by radars.

Before you get too excited at the thought of slipping into a thin sheet of invisibility and using it for various sorts of entertainment, realize that it doesn’t produce the same effect with visible light – yet, anyway. For now, the cloak can only hide objects from visible light that are a micrometer in size, meaning it is only effective if you need to hide a skin cell or two.

The project’s co-author Andrea Alu says that cloaking objects from visible light is possible, however. “In fact, metascreens are easier to realize at visible frequencies than bulk metamaterials and this concept could put us closer to a practical realization.” And with this device’s super thin design and use of conventional materials, it is both an exciting development in its own right, and also a glance at what the future holds.

[via Extreme Tech]

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