Is the Star-trek style invisibility cloak finally a reality?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

LONDON - You have seen it in movies - cloaks that make people disappear when they wear them - but it seems that invisibility cloaks have finally entered the real world.

University of Birmingham researchers have managed to make an entire paper clip invisible - an object thousands of times bigger than previous experiments.

They performed this extraordinary feat using naturally forming crystal called calcite, which has extraordinary light bending abilities.

When placed over an object it “bounces” light around it, turning the object totally invisible to the naked eye.

”This is a huge step forward as, for the first time, the cloaking area is rendered at a size that is big enough for the observer to ’see’ the invisible object with the naked eye,” the Telegraph quoted Dr Shuang Zhang as saying.

“By using natural crystals for the first time, rather than artificial meta-materials, we have been able to scale up the size of the cloak and can hide larger objects, thousands of times bigger than the wavelength of the light.”

However, the new method can use only a certain length of calcite - 21ft.

Zhang said, “Previous cloaks have succeeded at the micron level - much smaller than the thickness of a human hair - using a nano- or micro-fabricated artificial composite material.

“It is a very slow process to make these structures and they also restrict the size of the cloaking area. We believe that by using calcite, we can start to develop a cloak of significant size that will open avenues for future applications of cloaking devices,” he added.

The research is published in the journal Nature Communications. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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