Invisibility cloak one step closer to reality

Not the Lord of the Rings kind of invisibility, unfortunately, but researchers in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electric & Computer Engineering in Toronto, Canada, have found a way to make objects undetectable to radio waves that’s “thin, scalable and adaptive to different types and sizes of objects” according to Photonicsonline.com. It’s not a […]
Not the Lord of the Rings kind of invisibility, unfortunately, but researchers in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electric & Computer Engineering in Toronto, Canada, have found a way to make objects undetectable to radio waves that’s “thin, scalable and adaptive to different types and sizes of objects” according to Photonicsonline.com. It’s not a huge solution requiring objects to be surrounded by a “metamaterial shell”, either: rather, professor George Eleftheriades and PhD student Michael Selvanayagam designed a system of tiny antennae that can be layered on objects like a second skin that effectively cancels out the incoming radio waves by radiating them away, blocking whatever object they’re on from being detected by radar. According to the Photonics Online article, work began on developing an invisibility shield way back in 2006, but the first efforts were bulky and inelegant, requiring shielded objects to hide behind many layers of metamaterials, which Google defines as “a synthetic composite material with a structure such that it exhibits properties not usually found in natural materials, especially a negative refractive index”. With this new method, objects merely need to be coated in a thin layer of Eleftheriades’ and Selvanayagam’s antennae. Currently, the antennae must be manually attuned to the radio wave frequency to be cancelled out, but future versions will work both as sensors and antennae that can adjust on the fly to incoming radio frequencies. The applications for such technology are far-reaching. Aside from the obvious military uses, it could be applied to buildings to specifically negate their impact on cell tower signal reception. As exciting as this is, what’s even more thrilling is the prospect of applying the same principle to light waves, which Eleftheriades says is quite possible and a hot area of research right now. So chin up, and keep hoping – your Cloak of Invisibility +1 might still be a reality one day.