Feeds

Invisibility cloak moves a step closer

Light steer

Top three mobile application threats

After generations of being effectively invisible to the opposite sex, physicists have finally laid down blueprints for a functioning invisibility cloak. Light or other electromagnetic radiation could be bent around objects covered in exotic materials, making it appear as though they aren't there, a team reports in Science Express.

The theory relies on metamaterials, which get their electromagnetic properties from their structural mix, rather than directly inheriting those of the substances composing them.

The idea is that we now have technology to manipulate the surface of metamaterials on the nano scale, meaning light can be directed very precisely around an object, making it imperceptible to an observer. Researchers at Imperial College and Duke University did the sums, and found that an invisibility cloak should be possible.

Duke professor David R Smith said: "The cloak would act like you've opened up a hole in space. All light or other electromagnetic waves are swept around the area, guided by the metamaterial to emerge on the other side as if they had passed through an empty volume of space."

Invisibility would not be the only application, of course. Metamaterials could be used to improve the transmission of any kind of electromagnetic signal around obstacles, or they could be tuned to steer sound waves for perfect acoustics.

Earlier this month, other researchers detailed an alternative cloaking method using "superlenses", but stressed that their technique would work only for tiny specks of matter.

The metamaterial approach is based on sound, old-school physics. Smith said: "[The maths is] nothing that couldn't have been done 50 or even 100 years ago. The theory has only now become relevant because we can make metamaterials with the properties we are looking for."

The plan now is to validate the predictions with experiment. Smith said the team, funded by Defense Department research organ DARPA, are well on their way.®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.