Metamaterials bend light, cloak objects
The fiction of invisibility is closer to reality this month than it was last month. Engineers from Duke University have constructed a device that can “cloak” items placed on a mirror surface.
Networking and automation has a stake in wireless communications, and this manipulation of electromagnetic waves shows promise.
The technology could one day serve as protective shields or improve wireless communications by making signal-blocking obstacles “disappear.”
Popular Science reported the device is a more sophisticated and complicated design of the original from 2006. It can cloak a wider variety of waves.
To create the new device, the researchers developed a new set of mathematical algorithms that, in turn, engineer artificially structured “metamaterials” that have properties not found in natural materials. A metamaterial gains its properties from its structure rather than directly from its composition.
The metamaterials are what form the cloaking structures, which bend electromagnetic waves, like light, around an object, so it appears the object is no longer there.
To test the new device, the researchers aimed a beam of microwaves at a bump on a flat mirror surface. Normally, this bump would cause the beams to scatter. However, in the experiment, the metamaterial cloaking structure was able to bend the waves around the object, removing any sign of scattered beams, so the reflected image resembles that of the flat plane, as if the bump were not there.
Nicholas Sheble (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes and edits Automation Update.
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