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 11:51:59 AM
Of 2006? Haha. ~_~
"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
NASA Introduces Asteroid Grand Challenge to Protect Earth
June 18, 2013, 8:48 PM
NSA Leaker May be Killed in Drone Strike Says Ron Paul
June 17, 2013, 11:18 AM
Airbus A350 XWB "MSN1" Has Successful First Flight
June 17, 2013, 11:02 AM
Study: Gamers Have Better Visual, Decision-Making Skills Than Non-Gamers
June 12, 2013, 11:26 AM
Airbus A350 XWB to Take First Flight Friday, Looks to Challenge Boeing Dreamliner
June 11, 2013, 8:20 PM
Berkeley Lab Tests Artificial Photosynthesis with New Microfluidic Test-Bed
June 11, 2013, 11:41 AM
Most Popular Articles
Source: Don't Worry, NSA Spies on "99 Percent" of Americans' Locations, Call Records
June 14, 2013, 3:57 PM
Xbox Chief: If You Can't Get Online, Don't Buy an Xbox One
June 12, 2013, 9:57 AM
GigaHertz Wars 2.0? AMD Releases World's First 5.0 GHz FX Processor
June 11, 2013, 3:16 PM
Former Palm CEO: Selling Palm to HP was a Waste
June 12, 2013, 10:19 AM
Report: Apple to Release Larger iPhone Screens, Cheaper iPhone for $99
June 13, 2013, 9:41 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Lumosity: Does it Work?
May 22, 2013, 8:20 PM
Quick Note: Sony "Teases" PS4 Ahead of Xbox Reveal in New Video
May 20, 2013, 12:33 PM
Nokia Introduces Instagram-Like App of Its Own to Help Lumia Sales
May 20, 2013, 7:10 AM
Parents of Pre-Teen Drivers Commonly Practice Distracted Driving Says Study
May 9, 2013, 7:16 AM
Apple's iOS 7 Running Into Internal Delays Due to Massive Overhaul
May 1, 2013, 4:26 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information