Saturday 26 September 2015

Harry Potter-Style Invisibility Cloaks Exists in Real Life


Invisibility Cloak – Material of Gold Nanoantenna

An invisible cloak has been developed by scientists, a type of material which tends to wrap around objects, making them invisible to the naked eye. But the material is presently just enough to wrap around a very small item, much smaller than Dobby the house elf. However it is a huge innovation which portrays that we can in the near future have human sized invisibility cloaks.

 The microscopically thin film has been created by US researchers from the material of gold nanoantenna which is utilised in collecting the sun’s rays in solar panels. The film tends to confuse the human eye by sprinkling light waves which would generally hit an object making it invisible. Presently it has managed to hide something the size of a few cells.

Dr Xiang Zhang, corresponding author of US Department of Energy – DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) Materials Science Division, stated that it is the first time a 3D object of arbitrary shape has been cloaked from visible light.

The ultra-thin cloak seems like a coat and is easy to design as well as to implement. It is possibly accessible for the purpose of hiding macroscopic objects’.

Meta Engineered – Deflect Reflected Light Waves

The scattering of the light, whether it is visible, infrared of X-ray, from its interaction with matter is what enables us to detect and observe object. What governs these reactions in natural materials is evaded in metamaterials where optical properties tend to rise from their physical structure instead of their chemical composition.

Though the cloak is microscopic in size, the values behind the technology could enable it to be reached up to cover macroscopic objects too, according to researchers. Working on blocks of gold nanoantennas, a skin cloak has been created by the researches which is barely 80 nanometres in thickness that can wrap around a three dimensional object, the size of a few biological cells and randomly shaped with dents and bumps.

The surface of the skin of the clock is said to be Meta engineered to deflect the reflected light waves in order that the object is rendered invisible to optical recognition when the cloak tend to be activated.

Antenna Designed to React with Light/Scatter it Back

For the past ten years, Zhang together with his research group had been going beyond the precincts of how light tends to interact with metamaterials, handling to curve the path of light or bend it backwards, phenomena which is not envisaged in natural materials and to render object optically invisible.

Most of the cloaking devices in progress tend to work by channelling the light which normally would hit an object away from it. The new cloak on the contrary changes the way the light scatters, and creates an illusion of a surface as flat as a mirror rather than of the actual shape of the object.

 It has accomplished this by utilising a thin layer of material known as metasurface which is made of magnesium fluoride that is covered in millions of tiny golden antennae, each of which is about 1/1000th, the width of a human hair. Zhang had informed The Post that each antenna has been designed to react with the light and scatter it back and delay the light, delay the reflection in a way that every point of the face would reflect as if from a flat surface like a mirror.

He admits that there seems to be a lot of work to be done prior to the invisibility cloak of this type could be made useful.

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