Feeds

Boffins one step closer to invisible shed

Successfully cloak 3D object from microwaves

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Invisibility-investigating boffins have managed for the first time to cloak a three-dimensional object in free space – but only from microwaves.

Credit: D Rainwater et al 2012
New Journal of Physics (click to enlarge)

Rather than bending light around the object, an 18cm cylindrical tube, the researchers used "plasmonic cloaking", which uses metamaterials that don't reflect light in the same way as an object.

"When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation," study co-author Professor Andrea Alu said in a canned statement.

But don't get too excited yet, the boffins only successfully fooled waves in the microwave section of the electromagnetic spectrum. They have yet to have any success with visible light.

The cloak gave the best results when the microwaves were at a frequency of 3.1 gigahertz and over a moderately broad bandwidth. The shape of the object being cloaked behind the plasmonic stuff is irrelevant, but size does matter.

"In principle, this technique could be used to cloak light; in fact, some plasmonic materials are naturally available at optical frequencies.

"However, the size of the objects that can be efficiently cloaked with this method scales with the wavelength of operation, so when applied to optical frequencies we may be able to efficiently stop the scattering of micrometre-sized objects," Alu said.

So the best they can do at the moment is think about possibly properly making a microscope tip invisible, which would be good for biomedical and optical near-field reasons, but not terribly exciting for those hoping to wander around Hogwarts with impunity.

The research was published today in the New Journal of Physics, and is available as a PDF here. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
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?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.