Invisible Cloaking Device Created Using Mirage Effect
October 5, 2011 9:41 PM
Carbon Nanotubes were electrically stimulated to bend light rays away from the object behind the cloaking device, leading to total invisibility
To date, researchers from all over the world have invented invisible cloaks for many purposes, such as military stealth and even soundproofing. For instance, a UK company designed a
for military vehicles, and University of Illinois researchers developed an
that can hide objects from sonar.
Now, researchers from the University of Dallas have added a new invisible cloaking device to the mix. Like the work accomplished by the University of Illinois, Dallas' works best when underwater, but unlike many other cloaking tools, this new addition utilizes a mirage effect to achieve invisibility.
Dr. Ali Aliev, study leader from the University of Dallas, was able to successfully use the mirage effect to create an invisible cloaking device via carbon nanotubes. The mirage effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon that happens when a significant temperature change over a short distance bends light rays so that they're redirected from the hot ground to your eye, creating a displaced image of the sky or distant objects within view.
Aliev wanted to imitate this process with a material that could conduct heat and send it to surrounding areas quickly. The material needed ended up being carbon nanotubes, which are strong as steel and dense as air with one-molecule thick sheets of carbon shaped like a cylindrical tube.
When the carbon nanotubes were electrically stimulated, the temperature gradient led to the bending of
away from the object behind the cloaking device. This resulted in total invisibility.
"Using these nanotube sheets, concealment can be realized over the entire optical range and rapidly turned on and off at will, using either electrical heating or a pulse of electromagnetic radiation," said Aliev. "The research results provide useful insights into the optimization of nanotube sheets as thermoacoustic projectors for loud speaker and sonar applications, where sound is produced by heating using an alternating electrical current."
A video of the invisible cloaking device can be seen below:
This study was published in
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