Feeds

Cloaking device makes invisible progress

Light-emitting objects problem whacked

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Mathematicians have proposed improvements to cloaking technology to hide objects which emit their own electromagnetic radiation.

In October, a transatlantic team of scientists demonstrated the world's first working invisibility cloak, which uses metamaterials to bend electromagnetism around an object as if it weren't there.

However, the sums say the effect would be ruined by electromagnetic radiation from inside the cloak - so an object like a mobile phone, computer or aircraft could not be hidden. Analysis also showed that with current technology, to a person inside the cloak its inner surface would appear mirrored and they would not be able to see out.

A group led by Professor Allan Greenleaf at the University of Rochester, New York, said on Tuesday they had solved these problems with the invisibility cloak by revisiting the 19th century work of James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell's four equations describe how electromagnetism interacts with matter.

The team propose two possible solutions to the twin issues; to line the inner surface with conductive materials tuned to the geometry of the cloak, or to "match" the outer metamaterial surface with an inner one. They say Maxwell's equations back up the fix.

With current metamaterials, devices are only able to provide a cloaking effect for a very limited wavelength range, as Greenleaf points out. He said: "For example, an object could be rendered invisible at just a specific wavelength of red; it would be visible in nearly every other color."

The new findings do seem to bring a functioning invisibility cloak nearer however. David R. Smith, a physicist at Duke University, part of the team which built the first cloak, said: "Allan has been looking at the problem much more generally, and deriving the conditions for when true invisibility is or is not possible. We are very interested in what he and his colleagues come up with!"

We're sure the news will also be read with great interest in the corridors of the DARPA, which funds Smith's work. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.