A scientific breakthrough has seen a new method for making objects invisible
Top scientists have come up with a cloaking device that scatters light away from an object so it cannot be detected.
The new method, conceived as an “invisibility cloak”, will scatter waves around an object meaning it can be totally concealed from view.
Scientists at Ben-Gurion University in Israel will now set to work creating a prototype to prove their method for making objects invisible really works.
If successful it could be used in the military alongside technologies such as radar-absorbing dark paint on stealth aircraft, local optical camouflage, surface cooling to prevent infrared detection, and electromagnetic wave scattering.
Dr Alina Karabchevsky, the lead scientist behind the study, said: “We showed that it is possible to bend the light around an object located on the cloak on an optical chip.
“The light does not interact with the object, thus resulting in the object’s invisibility.”
The study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, shows how placing an object on top of a surface made of the “cloaking” material could scatter light around it.
The object would then be invisible to the eye – although it could still be picked up by infrared sensors or radar.
Scientists came up with their method for concealing objects based on the study of “metamaterials”.
This focuses on exploiting and controlling light by looking at how it interacts with objects.
The path of light is deflected when it hits material objects – but “metamaterials” are a new class of material that can refract light.
Diagram of the ‘metamaterial’ invisibility cloak created by researches in 2015
They were also used by researchers from the US Department of Energy when they created an invisibility “skin cloak” that conforms to the size of an object and conceals it from detection.
The cloak, created in 2015, was microscopic in size. However researchers have been working on creating a larger version that could be used on large objects.
Scientists will continue to push the boundaries of how light can interact with objects as they experiment with X-rays, infrared and light waves in upcoming studies.