David Papp Blog

The invisibility cloak is in our future

We’ve all fantasized about being able to turn invisible. And maybe having an invisible cloak à la Harry Potter. Well, it looks like some people are actually trying to turn that fantasy into reality.

Though we are still decades away from being able to hang up an actual invisibility cloak in our closets, researchers at the Pennsylvania State University have come close to creating something amazingly similar. A team of scientists have formulated a concealing screen made of material only 80 nanometers thick – that’s a thousand times thinner than actual human hair!

They created something that has never been seen before: a nano-material that hides a small 3D object and makes that object seem completely flat in visible light.

This invisibility cloak is actually made of gold bricks formed into tiny antennas and “can be carefully printed onto whatever object needs to be concealed,” according to PopularMechanics.com. These golden antennae can create an optical illusion of invisibility by reflecting light backwards with exceptional precision.

Admittedly this discovery only applies to objects micrometers in size, but they are certain that with a different fabrication method and lots of fine-tuning the material’s scale can grow bigger and can serve different purposes. Aside from its size, this invisibility cloak also has several other limitations at this point. For example, each antenna mirrors the hidden object based on its orientation and is only achieved through a specific and meticulous design. Also, for the cloak to work, the concealed device shouldn’t be allowed to move at all. Another thing is that the material only turns objects invisible when viewed with red light – blue and yellow lights don’t show the same amazing results.

Excited fans need not worry. Small though it may be, their nano-material is a big step towards a highly sophisticated piece of technology. Once this material has been perfected and modified, it can be used for bigger objects and various environments. There are endless possibilities.

4 thoughts on “The invisibility cloak is in our future”

  1. I don’t think this will come out very soon. Invisibility is still a Sci-Fi subject and may not be in our hands for real for the next decades. Scientists will have to work a lot for it. However, this is a great invention, even if it’s only working in red light. If it’s going to be an invisibility cloak, then make it work in normal light, not filtered one. That’s the first step.

  2. I’m certain that the military will be the first to use this technology. Killed by ghost Rangers? No. They were just invisible.

    While the prospect of being invisible certainly is exciting I’m sure that the mischief that would come with it would not make it (invisibility] that great anymore. Some would want to be don their invisibility cloak so they can spy on their enemies or neighbors. Not nice 🙁

  3. It’s something, even if they are just small objects, it still works. And even if it wouldn’t come out soonly to formaly make something (or someone, harry potter fan ove here) invisible.
    But as another user comented, I think that maybe it would’t be a good idea to selling them to everyone since you can get into legal issues… but it still would be an interesting thing to see.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I remember reading about this years ago, seems like the idea is advancing but I don’t think we’ll see an invisibility cloak in the near future, it’s not that easy to make. Still, maybe when I’m in my rocking chair I’ll get to see invisibility cloaks, spaceships, holograms and all that jazz, maybe I’ll even get to live on the moon at the rate we’re going. 😀
    I wonder how this cloak will affect military wars. Should be interesting to see.

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