Cloaking Device a Reality? Only if You're Very Small
December 20, 2007 11:19 AM
comment(s) - last by
The cloaked circle measures a mere 10 micrometers, but try to spot it next to an uncloaked circle.
Scientists at the University of Maryland demonstrate the first working visible light cloaking device.
Cloaking devices and technology have long been the fodder of science fiction, but researchers at the University of Maryland's James Clark School of Engineering have created a material that seems to fit the bill – at least in 2D. The device uses the properties of plasmons in its functionality.
Plasmons are electron waves which are generated when light strikes a metallic surface under controlled conditions. Plasmonics is a relatively new field though it promises to provide many beneficial scientific achievements.
The cloak itself is quite small,
a mere 10 micrometers in width (PDF)
. The structure of the device is a simple thin layer of acrylic plastic with a pattern of concentric, two-dimensional rings atop a gold film. The ring pattern creates a negative refraction effect on visible light striking it, bending the plasmons around the object. While the light appears to have passed straight through the material, it has in fact gone around it.
Far from a usable cloaking system, the device only functions under specialized conditions and only in two dimensions. It is also not perfect invisibility as it only works on a limited range of the visual spectrum and suffers energy loss in the gold film. Three dimensional use of the material would be difficult because visible light would need to be controlled both magnetically and electronically.
Of a more practical purpose, the team has also used the unique properties of plasmons to develop a superlens microscopy technology which could augment existing conventional microscopes. The light bending techniques could allow a real view into nanoscale objects like DNA, viruses and proteins. The group believes they can still improve the superlens technology, bringing the resolution to an impressive 10 nanometers.
Plasmons could one day be employed in a variety of technology due to their unique properties. Since plasmons have very short wavelengths, they can be controlled with impressively small guide structures, much smaller than systems currently in use. As the waves are generated at optical frequencies, they could be used to carry impressive amounts of data in future computing systems.
Not surprisingly, the research has garnered attention from not only the scientific community, but government agencies and industries. One can only dream of the possible applications the military could have in mind for such a technology, less long advances that could be made on the optical computing frontier.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/20/2007 11:50:51 AM
Maybe thinking of this article from October?
12/20/2007 11:51:59 AM
Of 2006? Haha. ~_~
"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Most Popular Articles
Windows XP, Vista Users Can Get Free Windows 10 Upgrade Thanks to Loophole
June 23, 2015, 2:23 PM
SanDisk's 200GB microSDXC Card Turns Smartphones Into Enviable PMPs
June 26, 2015, 2:02 PM
U.S. Navy Spends $9M USD to Cling to Windows XP, Office 2003
June 24, 2015, 2:03 PM
Under the Hood: Digging Into Sony's New CUH-1200 PS4, 1 TB Ultimate Player Ed.
June 23, 2015, 10:33 AM
Xbox Outsold 108-to-1 By PS4 in Japan, Weekly Sales Fall to 100 Units
June 22, 2015, 1:54 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information