American scientists say they have developed an ultra-thin invisibility cloak that can wrap around a 3D object and hide it from detection.
Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have used microscopic rectangular gold blocks that conform to the shape of an object and can render it undetectable with visible light.
“This is the first time a 3D object of arbitrary shape has been cloaked from visible light,” said Xiang Zhang, director of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division. “Our ultra-thin cloak now looks like a coat. It is easy to design and implement, and is potentially scalable for hiding macroscopic objects.”
The ‘skin’ cloak is 80 nano meters thick and boasts microscopic light-scattering antennae that can hide an object from optical detection by making light bounce off its surface.
It works by employing specially-devised metamaterials, which can bend or curve the reflection of light. The cloak, can therefore, make an object appear flat and invisible if viewed from the front, but any movement by the viewer or the object would shatter the illusion.
The researchers said the technology could be used for military applications like making large objects like vehicles or aircraft or even individual soldiers invisible.
They also suggested that their finding be used in fashion design and beauty products like a cloaking mask for the face that can hide pimples and wrinkles.
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