Researchers use nanoparticles to make a round object appear flat

We're still waiting for someone to create a proper Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak, but in the meantime researchers have used nanoparticles to 'cloak' the shape of an object. The work was done by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science; with their newly created system, a curved object like a ball appears to be flat when detected by electromagnetic waves.

The cloaking system this time around isn't a visual one — it is designed to hide the appearance of a curved object by making it look flat to waves that pass over it, making it hard for distant observers to determine what they're detecting (one could imagine military uses for such a technology). This was achieved using nanoparticles that are said to work by enhancing "specific properties" of the curved object's surface.

You can see an example of how the cloaking works in the image above. When the nanoparticles aren't being used, the electromagnetic waves appear as shown on the right side: altering in shape and position in response to the curved object's shape. When the nanoparticles are used, however, the waves appear as shown on the left — continuously flat as if the curved object itself were flat.

According to the researchers, the "nanocomposite medium" used to coat the object is composed of seven layers, with each layer having its own electric property. In the case of the object you see above, the layers reduce the shadowing after the object and helps reconstruct the waves in the front to be uniform.

SOURCE: Queen Mary University of London