University of Birmingham researchers succeed in cloaking a paperclip

Posted by on February 6th, 2011 in invisibility

From BioScholar:

University of Birmingham researchers have managed to make an entire paper clip invisible – an object thousands of times bigger than previous experiments.

They performed this extraordinary feat using naturally forming crystal called calcite, which has extraordinary light bending abilities.

When placed over an object it “bounces” light around it, turning the object totally invisible to the naked eye.

‘‘This is a huge step forward as, for the first time, the cloaking area is rendered at a size that is big enough for the observer to ‘see’ the invisible object with the naked eye,” said Dr Shuang Zhang.

“By using natural crystals for the first time, rather than artificial meta-materials, we have been able to scale up the size of the cloak and can hide larger objects, thousands of times bigger than the wavelength of the light.”

However, the new method can use only a certain length of calcite – 21ft.

Zhang said, “Previous cloaks have succeeded at the micron level – much smaller than the thickness of a human hair – using a nano- or micro-fabricated artificial composite material.

“It is a very slow process to make these structures and they also restrict the size of the cloaking area. We believe that by using calcite, we can start to develop a cloak of significant size that will open avenues for future applications of cloaking devices,” he added.

The research is published in the journal Nature Communications. (ANI)

Macroscopic invisibility cloaking of visible light; Xianzhong Chen, Yu Luo, Jingjing Zhang, Kyle Jiang, John B. Pendry, Shuang Zhang; Nature Communications 2, 176 (1 February 2011) doi:10.1038/ncomms1176

More info in this interview with Dr Shuang Zhang on BBC 5 Radio.

thanks for the tip-off R.!


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2 Responses to “University of Birmingham researchers succeed in cloaking a paperclip”

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