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Scientists one step closer to creating invisibility cloak

Scientists at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have reached a milestone in “invisibility” research which could be useful in industrial applications.

The scientists have demonstrated a cloaking device with the ability to make curved surfaces look flat when encountering electromagnetic waves. This was achieved by coating a surface with a nanocomposite material consisting of seven different layers with different electric properties for each layer. The result of this was material that concentrates the electromagnetic wave, thus concealing the object it is covering, which would normally scatter the wave in different directions.

According to the study’s co-author, Yang Hao from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, the design is based on transformation optics, which is a concept behind the idea of the invisibility cloak.

“Previous research has shown this technique working at one frequency. However, we can demonstrate that it works at a greater range of frequencies, making it more useful for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the aerospace industry,” he said.

Lead author Luigi La Spada (also from the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science) said, “The study and manipulation of surface waves is the key to develop technological and industrial solutions in the design of real-life platforms for different application fields.

“We demonstrated a practical possibility to use nanocomposite to control surface wave propagation through advanced additive manufacturing. Perhaps most importantly, the approach used can be applied to other physical phenomena that are described by wave equations, such as acoustics. For this reason, we believe that this work has a great industrial impact.”

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