Week 9/Invisability Cloak/ Lam Tran

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/01/15/invisibility-cloak.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEm4EY4IWTI&feature=related

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7553061.stm

Imagine a cloak that you can put on and it will make you invisible.

Its sort of like the thing Harry Potter had. Well.. it isn’t a thing in science fiction or a magical piece of cloth in a fantasy novel.

That’s right… at University of California, Berkeley, they have made amazing breakthroughs in creating an invisible cloak!

Its not some sort of optical illusion. It doesn’t run on electricity.It uses nano technology. Well technically it uses metamaterials but nanotechnology enabled the creation of this. Before this, the closest thing science can do to enable invisibility is a combination of cameras and projectors. This cloak uses a fabric that is sort of a fish net that are nano-meters apart. The result creates something that sort of bends light around the object surrounded by the cloak. That’s just plain amazing. By making the cloth and taking it down to the nanoscopic level, science is able to achieve things that seem just impossible. There are no gears or smaller parts in this; the fabric takes on certain characteristics. This is how nanotech is. Its not that science fiction nanobot crap. There are no smaller parts within the nanotech that does all the things that it does. It is a particle that takes on a desired characteristic.

Now from the videos and pictures, you can see that the cloak and the person wearing it is still visible. However, making it seem transparent is still mind boggling. They have made shirts (not on the market) that are made of this material. I think it would make a cool clothing line. I’d buy that. Making a clothing line out of these metamaterials is sort of the application of science into the world of art/fashion.

It will still take a while before they perfect this. The scientists, not just at Berkeley, are trying different patterns and materials to try to perfect the cloak. Even the distance between the gaps in the cloak matter. Probably variations in a few picometers would make a difference. The scale of which these scientists are working are so small no optical microscope can really see. A regular light telescope is limited to 2000x. This is not enough to see something 10^-9 meters. They use electron microscopes instead and the image magnified ends up on a computer monitor.

Lam Tran

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