Researchers Have Moved One Step Closer To Achieving Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak
A team of researchers out of Queen Mary University of London believe they have found the first step to a practical cloaking device. Yes, invisibility may be possible in the future.
The team, at the moment, is thinking small. They aren't trying to make people, or battleships at that, disappear. Instead, they're working on a new material that will make curved surfaces appear flat to electromagnetic waves.
"The design is based upon transformation optics, a concept behind the idea of the invisibility cloak," said Professor Yang Hao from QMUL's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, who helped write the study. "Previous research has shown this technique working at one frequency. However, we can demonstrate that it works at a greater range of frequencies making it more useful for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the aerospace industry."
The researchers coated a curved surface with a nanocomposite medium. The material has seven different layers called "graded index nanocomposite." Each layer of the medium varies in electric property.
"The study and manipulation of surface waves is the key to develop technological and industrial solutions in the design of real-life platforms, for different application fields," said Dr Luigi La Spada also from QMUL's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, who wrote the study. "We demonstrated a practical possibility to use nanocomposites to control surface wave propagation through advanced additive manufacturing. Perhaps most importantly, the approach used can be applied to other physical phenomena that are described by wave equations, such as acoustics. For this reason, we believe that this work has a great industrial impact."
Although the technology won't allow for invisibility cloaks yet, like from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, it will allow for a diverse use of antennas in different shapes and sizes.