Invisibility Cloak Moves In
Scientists in the USA are a step closer to developing an invisibility cloak suitable for people and potentially even vehicles in the near future. Researchers at the University of California have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects – making them, to all intents and purposes, simply vanish into thin air.
The materials do not occur in the natural environment, but are instead created on the nano scale (so tiny it’s only billionths of a millimetre in size). The work has been led by Xiang Zhang and the report has been published in the Journal Nature and Science.
The system works in the same way as a water flowing around a rock – though in this case obviously the ‘water’ is in fact light. Because the light is not being absorbed or reflected by the object that is covered in the nano-material, anyone viewing it would only see whatever is behind the object that is represented by the nano material’s function. This function involves having “negative refractive” properties and has a structure that is transparent over a wide range of light wavelengths.
I do have one question about this though. If we all have access to invisibility cloaks in the future and you drop yours on the floor/leave it on the couch, short of standing or sitting on it how would you ever know it was there? The research has been funded by the US government and may possibly be used in military applicatons.