Reading about invisibility cloak technology is a bit like reading about hologram technology. It’s something we are all waiting to happen, but since it’s so complex and on the edge of what our current technology is capable of, it feels like it’s inching along. Each bit of progress is like a huge milestone, and I’ve read articles about it several times over the past few years. Just like hologram technology, invisibility cloak technology has already been realized…in a lab or other controlled environment.
This means it will still be a while before we can all cloak our spaceships or become Harry Potter. Boo. The exciting news is that invisibility cloak technology exists now, and it’s no longer just a fantasy for the future. The bad news is that it currently only works in microwave light, not visible light.
This is still a great breakthrough though. I mean, I remember reading articles back around 2010 that talked about ways people were able to create an invisibility cloak through different visual effects. They were impressive, no doubt, but it wasn’t the real thing. Now that the actual technology is emerging, it’s no longer a fantasy sci-fi visual effect, it’s real.
You might wonder how this all works. It’s very different from previous attempts that tried to bend light rays. This more successful method uses a new material called metascreen and a new technique called ‘mantle cloaking.’ Bottom line, it cancels out the light waves so you never see them in the first place.
According to Andrea Alu, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin, “When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation.” You can click on the links below for more information. I guess it’s time to start thinking of all the potential applications for an invisibility cloak. I can think of a ton, but they are all just for fun. I’m sure there are meaningful applications as well.