Could one of the seemingly other-worldly creations of Harry Potter be coming to fruition in the real world?
It’s an incredible report that seems almost unbelievable: scientists may have taken on big step closer to creating an invisbility cloak.
Researchers have discovered a new material that can make objects disappear by stopping them and scattering their radio waves, according to a Queen Mary University of London statement.
The object is coated in seven layers of materials made of nano-sized particles and has curved surfaces that appear flat to electromagnetic waves. The technology could be used to change the shapes of antennae, scientists believe.
Invisbility cloaks have long been a fantasy of science fiction, from Harry Potter to Star Trek. But they also seemed like a far-fetched possibility divorced from the realm of science. This latest research, however, indicates that that might not be the case after all.
The technology is effective in the 8 and 10 Giga Hertz range on the electromagnetic spectrum.
The discovery is not likely to lead to invisibility cloaks like the one seen in Harry Potter, but it could result in huge changes to how antennas are designed and tethered to their platform, allowing for antennas of varying shapes and sizes to attached in many different places that ordinarily wouldn’t be feasible.
Co-author, Professor Yang Hao from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, said in the statement: “The design is based upon transformation optics, a concept behind the idea of the invisibility cloak. … 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.”
First author Dr Luigi La Spada also from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, added: “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.
“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.”
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