Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Invisibility cloak closer to reality.

Soon, women's locker room. Soon. Item!
Scientists in the UK have demonstrated a flexible film that represents a big step toward the "invisibility cloak" made famous by Harry Potter.

The film contains tiny structures that together form a "metamaterial", which can, among other tricks, manipulate light to render objects invisible.

Flexible metamaterials have been made before, but only work for light of a colour far beyond that which we see.

Physicists have hailed the approach a "huge step forward".

The bendy approach for visible light is reported in the New Journal of Physics.

Metamaterials work by interrupting and channelling the flow of light at a fundamental level; in a sense they can be seen as bouncing light waves around in a prescribed fashion to achieve a particular result.

But light waves can only be herded around by structures about the size of their wavelength - a property which is connected to their colour.

Until now, the most striking demonstrations of invisibility have occurred for light waves with a much longer wavelength than we can see. This is because it is simply easier to construct metamaterials with relatively large structures.

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