Now You See It, Now You Don't: An Infrared Invisibility Cloak Made of Glass

ScienceDaily — An engineered 3-D metamaterial that can reverse and bend the natural direction of visible and near-infrared light, a development that could help form the basis for higher resolution optical imaging and nanocircuits for high-powered computers.

From Tolkien's ring of power in The Lord of the Rings to Star Trek's Romulans, who could make their warships disappear from view, from Harry Potter's magical cloak to the garment that makes players vanish in the video game classic "Dungeons and Dragons", the power to turn someone or something invisible fascinates humankind. But who ever thought that a scientist at Michigan Technological University would be serious about building a working invisibility cloak?

That's exactly what Elena Semouchkina, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, is doing. She has found ways to use magnetic resonance to capture rays of visible light and route them around objects, rendering those objects invisible to the human eye.

(Credit: Image courtesy of Michigan Technological University) Elena Semouchkina holds the ceramic resonators that enable her to make objects appear invisible in microwave frequencies.

Semouchkina and colleagues at the Pennsylvania State University, where she is also an adjunct professor, recently reported on their research in the journal Applied Physics Letters, published by the American Institute of Physics. Her co-authors were Douglas Werner and Carlo Pantano of Penn State and George Semouchkin, who works at Michigan Tech and Penn State.

They describe developing a nonmetallic cloak that uses identical glass resonators made of chalcogenide glass, a type of dielectric material (one that does not conduct electricity). In computer simulations, the cloak made objects hit by infrared waves -- approximately one micron or one-millionth of a meter long -- disappear from view...MORE...

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