Monday, June 26, 2006

Invisiblity Cloak?

"Cloaking Breakthrough

New materials are on the U.S. Department of Defense’s radar.

By Duncan Graham-Rowe

Blue cloaking "metamaterial" is able to bend light around an object (orange circle), ensuring it casts no shadow or reflection. (Credit: D. Schurig, Duke University.)

Ever since H. G. Wells published The Invisible Man more than a century ago, the prospect of invisibility -- or cloaking -- has been a mainstay of science fiction. But now physicists say they have finally figured out how to make objects invisible, and what’s more, they are just months away from putting this theory into practice.

The trick is to find a way to guide light and other types of electromagnetic radiation around an object so that it casts no shadow and produces no reflection. Normally, this kind of manipulation would be a tall order, says John Pendry of Imperial College London, England. But, he adds, the recent development of a new class of materials called "metamaterials" makes it tantalizingly feasible.

Metamaterials are engineered materials whose properties are determined by their physical structure rather than their chemistry, says Pendry. Such properties include the ability to bend light, he says."

This is from:invisible man
Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact