Invisibility Cloak One Step Closer, Scientists Say
If you are a die-hard Harry Potter fan like my brother, then here is some exciting news for you – A prototype “invisibility cloak”, similar to those worn by fictional wizard Harry Potter, has been developed by European scientists. British and German researchers have created the three-dimensional cloak that can hide objects by bending light waves, which could pave the way for larger objects to be made invisible.
Highlights of This Invisible Cloak:
- European Scientists have rendered a tiny lump of gold invisible in 3D, paving the way for the possibility of a real-life Harry Potter invisibility cloak. Fiction made real?
- The invisibility cloak was minute, measuring 100 microns by 30 microns.
- Recreating the invisibility cloak on a larger scale could prove challenging technically.
Invisibility cloaks have already been developed but they only worked on two dimensions. In other words, the objects that were supposed to be made invisible were immediately visible from the third dimension, the study said. The “cloak” invented by the European team is the first to work on three dimensions.
“It’s kind of like hiding a small object underneath a carpet — except this time the carpet also disappears,” they said. “We put an object under a microscopic structure, a little like a reflective carpet,” said Nicholas Stenger, one of the researchers who worked on the project. “When we looked at it through a lens and did spectroscopy, no matter what angle we looked at the object from, we saw nothing. The bump became invisible,” said Stenger.
The “cloak” they used to make the microscopic bump disappear was composed of special lenses that work by bending light waves to suppress light as it scattered from the bump, the study says. The invisibility cloak was minute, measuring 100 microns by 30 microns — one micron being one-thousandth of a millimeter — and the bump it hid was 10 times smaller, said Stenger.
“For now these cloaking devices are just a beautiful and exciting benchmark to show what transformation optics can do,” said Tolga Ergin, who led the research. The researchers are working now to recreate the disappearing bump but on a larger scale, but Stenger said Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak would not be hanging in would-be wizards’ wardrobes in the near future.
“Theoretically, it would be possible to do this on a large scale but technically, it’s totally impossible with the knowledge we have now,” Ergin said. He added: “We won’t have a body-sized invisibility cloak tomorrow but this has demonstrated a remarkable proof of principle.“
“Making things invisible is one possibility,” Dr. Chan, another scientist who took part in the experiment says. “We are thinking about ways to make an object appear to be something else, like making an apple on a table look like an orange!” Interesting idea, isn’t it?