Invisibility cloaks are designed to make objects look like they disappear to observers. Scientists have come a long way in developing a material that can actually do that in visible light. While the actual 3-D cloak might not be as fancy as what you saw in Harry Potter, the development of invisibility cloaks could improve technologies such as solar cells and chips.
Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's Center for Functional Nanostructures (CFN) created a 3-D cloak that is smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The material must be structured in the nanometer range so it can guide light waves and make objects disappear to the naked eye.
KIT's researcher Tolga Ergin said in a statement:
“The invisibility cloak now developed is an attractive object demonstrating the fantastic possibilities of the rather new field of transformation optics and metamaterials. The design options that opened up during the last years had not been deemed possible before. We expect dramatic improvements of light-based technologies, such as lenses, solar cells, microscopes, objectives, chip production, and data communication.”
Last year, the team presented the first 3-D invisibility cloak to the journal Science. Until then, researchers could only show off invisibility cloaks in wavequides and the cloaks were usually only two-dimensional.
Karlsruhe Invisibility Cloak: Disappearing Visibly
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