March 02, 2005
The cloak of invisibility!

Engineers devise invisibility shield. Need I say more?

The idea of a cloak of invisibility that hides objects from view has long been confined to the more improbable reaches of science fiction. But electronic engineers have now come up with a way to make one.

Andrea Alý and Nader Engheta of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia say that a 'plasmonic cover' could render objects "nearly invisible to an observer". Their idea remains just a proposal at this stage, but it doesn't obviously violate any laws of physics.

"The concept is an interesting one, with several important potential applications," says John Pendry, a physicist at Imperial College in London, UK. "It could find uses in stealth technology and camouflage."


[T]he invisibility shield proposed by Alý and a self-contained structure that would reduce visibility from all viewing angles. In that sense it would be more like the shielding used by the Romulans in the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror" in 1966, which hid their spaceships at the push of a button.

Now there's a reporter that knows his audience. This link was sent to me by Tiffany, who is apparently preparing her Christmas list a little earlier than usual this year.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 02, 2005 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack

Bu hu bwa ha ha hah...I always knew it was possible.

Thanks for making my day.

Hope you don't mind my linking this to my blog.
Don't worry. I will atribute.


Posted by: cube on March 2, 2005 11:23 AM

Before anyone gets their hopes up too much, the linked article does mention a couple of teensy drawbacks:

Perhaps even more of a drawback, he points out, is the fact that a particular shield only works for one specific wavelength of light.

An object might be made invisible in red light, say, but not in multiwavelength daylight.

And crucially, the effect only works when the wavelength of the light being scattered is roughly the same size as the object. So shielding from visible light would be possible only for microscopic objects; larger ones could be hidden only to long-wavelength radiation such as microwaves. This means that the technology could not be used to hide people or vehicles from human vision.

Posted by: Mathwiz on March 3, 2005 3:45 PM