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Metamaterials

The team at University of Illinois is responsible for advancements in acoustic imaging whi...

A team at the University of Illinois, Chicago, has developed the world’s first acoustic ‘super lens’. It is proposed that this innovation could be used for high-resolution ultrasound imaging, non-destructive structural testing of buildings and bridges, and underwater stealth technology or "acoustic cloaking".  Read More

Harry Potter and his cloak of invisibility - which you can't see obviously

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.  Read More

A scanning electron microscope image of the fabricated structure, developed by UC Berkeley...

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.  Read More

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.  Read More

Stealth ships: HMS Helsingborg and HMS Visby.
 Photo: Peter Nilsson/Kockums AB

March 2, 2008 Like a lot of emerging science, the study of metamaterials is both amazingly cool and nearly impossible to understand without an advanced degree in physics or a long night on Wikipedia. It’s made Gizmag headlines before, with researchers claiming its unique structure, which has a negative refractive index, could be used to render objects invisible to the naked eye. Now scientists at Britannia Royal Navy College are working on a plan to use it to create the ultimate stealth vessel, according to a report in this month's edition of Physics World.  Read More

Scientists move a step closer to being able to make objects invisible

May 4, 2007 A computer model designed by a mathematician at the University of Liverpool has shown that it is possible to make objects, such as aeroplanes and submarines, appear invisible at close range. Scientists have already created an ‘invisibility cloak’ made out of ‘metamaterial’ which can bend electromagnetic radiation – such as visible light, radar or microwaves – around a spherical space, making an object within this region appear invisible. Until now, scientists could only make objects appear invisible from far away. Liverpool mathematician Dr Sebastien Guenneau, together with Dr Frederic Zolla and Professors Andre Nicolet from the University of Marseille, have proven - using a computer model called GETDP - that objects can also be made to appear invisible from close range when light travels in waves rather than beams. Scientists predict that metamaterials could be of use in military technology, such as in the construction of fighter jets and submarines, but it will be some years before invisibility cloaks can be developed for human beings.  Read More

First demonstration of a working invisibility cloak

October 20, 2006 A team led by scientists at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering has demonstrated the first working "invisibility cloak." Now before you get all excited about the prospects of playing the invisible man or Harry Potter, it’s not a Dr Zhivago sort of cloak but an electromagnetic radiation cloaking device and we’re many years from being able to turn an object or person invisible to the naked eye. The cloak deflects microwave beams so they flow around a "hidden" object inside with little distortion, making it appear almost as if nothing were there at all. Cloaks that render objects essentially invisible to microwaves could have a variety of wireless communications or radar applications, according to the researchers. Watch the video.  Read More

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