New Cloaking Device – Similar To One Blanket Used In Harry Potter Films - Metamaterials

New Cloaking Device – Blanket Similar To One Used In Harry Potter Films - Metamaterials

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(Best Syndication News) Two scientific breakthroughs are helping Berkley scientists achieve what was once science fiction: A cloaking device that will make us invisible to the human eye (see Videos Below). Advances in the development of “metamaterials” are making it possible.

Various materials, including water can bend light. This is called refraction. Unlike other materials in nature, these new metamaterials can perform “negative refraction.” Professor Xiang Zhang puts helps clarify what is happening. "What we have done is take two very different approaches to the challenge of creating bulk metamaterials that can exhibit negative refraction in optical frequencies. Both bring us a major step closer to the development of practical applications for metamaterials."

Zhang and his colleagues at the UC Berkeley's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center have been studying the refractive index of materials. Normally light may bend in water making a fish appear somewhere else; but with negative refraction the fish would appear to be outside the water’s surface.

Previously researchers were able to develop 2-D materials limited to a single monolayer of artificial atoms whose light-bending properties cannot be defined. The new metamaterials are able to bend light that we see negatively. To do this the structural array of the material must be smaller than the visible electromagnetic spectrum. For this reason it has been easier to bend the longer wavelengths of light.

The Berkley scientists were able to cut nanoscale-sized fishnet patterns into alternating layers of silver and non-conducting magnesium fluoride. UC Berkeley graduate and co-author of the study, Jason Valentine, explains that each pair of conducting and non-conducting layers forms a circuit, or current loop. These circuits respond in opposite directions of the electro-magnetic field from the incoming light.

The research appears in the journal Science. This is the first observed negative refraction from red light wavelengths as short as 660 nanometers. It is the first demonstration of bulk media bending visible light backwards.

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By Mark Williams
Best Syndication News Science Writer

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