Scottish researchers are reporting a "practical breakthrough" that could lead to the development of that most sought after of wardrobe items – the invisibility cloak. The concept of the invisibility cloak (not pictured) is based around harnessing the unique electromagnetic wave-bending properties of metamaterials
, but this poses problems when it comes to creating flexible surfaces suitable for applications like clothing and contact superlenses
for visual prostheses... problems which the new material design known as "Metaflex" hopes to address.
We’ve covered a few different research efforts looking to develop “invisibility cloak” technology on Gizmag, including 3D metamaterials that negatively refract visible and near-infrared light
and U-shaped “nano-rings”
that manipulate light. The latest news sure to get Harry Potter fans excited comes out of Michigan Technical University where Elena Semouchkina, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has found ways to use magnetic resonance to capture rays of visible light and route them around objects, rendering them invisible to the human eye.
A Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak is one more step closer to reality thanks to the work of a research team at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics (AMOLF
) in the Netherlands, which has successfully harnessed the magnetic field of light to develop meta-materials that can deflect light in every possible direction.
Over the last few years we’ve covered the development of “invisibility cloaks” using metamaterials – man-made structured composite materials exhibiting optical properties not found in nature that can guide light to achieve cloaking and other optical effects. In 2006, scientists at Duke University demonstrated
in the laboratory that an object made of metamaterials can be partially invisible to particular wavelengths of light - not visible light, but rather microwaves. A few groups have even managed to achieve a microscopically-sized carpet-cloak
. Now researchers have developed software that can show what such a cloaked object will actually look like.
Harnessing the unique properties of metamaterials, researchers in China have recently published a work detailing the implementation of a thin air, broadband and remotely controllable 'invisible gateway' that is able to shield all types of electromagnetic waves while letting through all other physical objects.
Mathematicians at the University of Utah have recently announced they have elaborated an innovative way to shield two-dimensional objects from all types of waves, from electromagnetic to those caused by natural events like earthquakes and tsunamis, leading the way to a completely new approach to achieving invisibility.
Researchers at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona have recently designed a peculiar material — called a dc metamaterial
— that has the property of making objects wrapped in it undetectable to magnetic and very low-frequency electromagnetic fields. The breakthrough brings the dream of "invisibility cloaking" closer to reality and could have important repercussions in both the military and medical fields.
Invisibility has been a staple of science fiction, (and my own personal fantasies), for decades and in recent years we’ve watched as fiction edges ever closer to reality
through the use of metamaterials
. The problem with most of the devices currently being researched however, is that since they totally encompass the object being rendered invisible, they are also rendered blind as well, which kind of defeats the purpose. But a team from Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology believes they have come up with an answer to this problem and that it is indeed possible to create a cloaking device that would be able to render an object invisible without encompassing it.
Development in metamaterials - the so called “left handed” composite materials that negatively refract light waves and promise the sci-fi scenario of rendering objects invisible - is accelerating with news this week of two breakthroughs from scientists at the University of California, Berkeley.
June 16, 2008 Research into the cloaking properties of “left handed” metamaterials
is continuing, with the latest news coming from scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia who have proven that these man-made substance can make objects impervious to sound waves. A proposed "acoustic cloak" would use sonic crystals, a class of metamaterial, to bend sound waves around an object, and could be used to render vessels Sonar-invisible... perhaps even bring to life that staple of spy technology: the Cone of Silence.