Feeds

Secret of invisibility unravelled by US researchers

Finally, the formula for invisibility is ours. Mwahahaha...

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Scientists at the University of California in Berkeley have engineered a material that can bend visible light around objects. This development could soon result in technology that can render tanks, ships and troops invisible to the eye.

Results of the US military-funded research are expected to appear in the scientific journals Science and Nature this week.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, this breakthrough follows earlier work undertaken at the Imperial College in London that achieved similar results with microwaves. Like light, these are a form of electromagnetic radiation, but their longer wave-length makes them far easier to manipulate. Achieving the same effect with visible light is a big advance.

Journalist's impression of troops equipped with the new cloaking technology on exercise

The head of research, Professor Xiang Zhang, said in the case of invisibility cloaks or shields, the material would need to curve light waves completely around the object like a river flowing around a rock.

In essence, an observer looking at the cloaked object would then see light from behind it, making it seem to disappear.

Substances capable of achieving such feats are known as metamaterials, which get their electromagnetic properties from their structural mix, rather than directly inheriting those of the substances composing them.

They have the power to grab electromagnetic radiation and deflect it smoothly. No such material occurs naturally and it's only very recently that molecular engineering has advanced sufficiently to give scientists the opportunity to create them.

Not since Project Rainbow, when in October 1943 the US Navy rendered the destroyer escort USS Eldridge invisible to human observers for a brief period, has such a breakthrough in light-refraction stealth technology been made.

Of course, that last bit's complete nonsense. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.