Boffins have created an ‘invisibility cloak’ for hiding very small pieces of gold. And no, this doesn’t mean they were pocketing it.
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany was able to cloak a tiny bump in a layer of gold, preventing its detection at nearly visible infrared frequencies.
Although the bump was tiny, a mere 0.00004 inch high and 0.0005 inch across, so small that a magnifying lens was needed to see it, it is still being hailed as a major breakthrough.
While there have been cloaking devices that have been able to hide objects in various ways, but this is the first time that something becomes invisible in 3D.
“If you look in plane the cloaking works quite nice,” Lead Researcher Tolga Ergin told Science News. “But if you tilt the plane, look from an oblique angle … you can immediately tell that there is something there.”
This step closer to Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks will help the scientists learn more about the concepts of transformation optics, “we have made a first step in producing 3-D structures in that field,” said Ergin.
The technology could be used in the future for creating the stealthiest of aircraft, or allowing randy men to enter the changing rooms of a lingerie store.
“Invisibility cloaks are a beautiful and fascinating benchmark for the field of transformation optics, and it is very seldom that one can foretell what practical applications might arise out of a field of fundamental research,” he added.