Invisibility Using Plasmonic Covers

Researchers Andrea Alu and Nader Engheta of the University of Pennsylvania have written a paper on how plasmonic resonance effects might be used to render an object invisible. Their paper (Achieving transparency with plasmonic coatings) describes how plasmonic covers could be used to make an object nearly invisible to an observer.

Most efforts to render an object "invisible" are made in the same general vein as those made by the chameleon - try to make yourself look just like what you are standing in front of. This method takes the more radical approach of trying to avoid scattering light back to the observer's eyes.

(From Romulan Cloaking Device)

However, before you rush right out and buy the Romulan cloaking device that guy at the Star Trek convention was trying to sell you, you might consider the details. Plasmonic resonance can only be used to "hide" very small objects - microscopically small objects - and usually the effect would only work with objects of a very specific shape and with light of a particular wavelength. Since the effect would only work when the wavelength of the light being scattered is similar to the size of the object being shielded, it would not work for objects the size of people or space ships unless the wavelength of radiation used to "see" with was very large.

Thanks to alert readers Adi and W for pointing this article out; read more at engineers devise invisibility shield.

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