Invisibility Cloak Works In Visible Spectrum

A device that some people are calling the world's first true invisibility cloak - it hides a physical object in the visible spectrum - has been created by the University of Maryland.


(Smolyaninov University of Maryland team invisibility cloak)

The cloak itself is only ten micrometers in diameter. If an object is placed inside, the cloak guides light around the object. The light waves appear to have moved in a straight line. The object is invisible using polarized light.

Smolyaninov's team confine light to two dimensions. "The new cloak doesn't control the light you can see directly," explains Ulf Leonhardt, a physicist at the University of St Andrews, UK. "It's not the invisibility most people would imagine."

The Maryland researchers inject polarised cyan light into a gold surface using a tiny optical fibre with a fine tip. The light waves become converted into surface plasmons – waves rippling through the electrons of the gold surface, effectively in two dimensions.

In his excellent space adventure Brigands of the Moon, published in 1931, Ray Cummings describes an electronic device that can render a person invisible.

The invisible cloak. We laid it on my grid, and I adjusted its mechanism. I donned it and drew its hood, and threw on its current.

"Can you see me?"

"No."
(Read more about Ray Cummings 1931 invisible cloak)

Via NewScientist.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/4/2007)

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