Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Invisibility Possible With Superlenses

Professor Graeme Milton (Utah University) and Nicolae-Alexandru Nicorovici (Sydney University of Technology) claim that small objects could be rendered invisible by superlenses. They make their claim in a paper to appear in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society today.

According to The Guardian, the two professors have calculated that invisibility could be achieved for certain wavelengths of light, under particular circumstances.

The cloaking device relies on recently discovered materials used to make superlenses that make light behave in a highly unusual way. Instead of having a positive refractive index - the property which makes light bend as it passes through a prism or water - the materials have a negative refractive index, which effectively makes light travel backwards.

Prof Milton's team calculated that when certain objects are placed next to superlenses, the light bouncing off them is essentially erased by light reflecting off the superlens, making the object invisible.
(From Now you see it, now you don't...)

Russian physicist Victor Veselago first theorized in 1967 that materials with a negative index of refraction were possible. It wasn't until last year that such substances were actually created. The real use of thes materials is that they can be used to create "superlenses" able to view images that are up to ten times smaller than previousl possible with conventional lenses.

Nicorovici and Milton both state that their work is theoretical at this point; the mathematics seems to work for tiny objects like a speck of dust, and for only one frequency of light.

Everyone remembers the invisibility shield or "cloaking device" from the original Star Trek television show from the 1960's. However, invisibility cloak sf pseudoscience has been around for much longer than that.

In his excellent 1931 novel Brigands of the Moon, author Ray Cummings writes about an invisible cloak:

The invisible cloak. We laid it on my grid, and I adjusted its mechanism. I donned it and drew its hood, and threw on its current.

"All right, Anita?"

"Yes"

"Can you see me?"

"No." (Read more about Ray Cummings' invisible cloak)

See related articles here and here. Thanks to reader Winchell Chung for contributing the tip and the references for this article.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/3/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.' Frank Herbert, 1965.

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.' - Gene Roddenberry, 1967.

Plasma Window Technology, Pressure Cushions and Deflector Doors
'The Marine Gunner stepped gingerly through the invisible barrier. He had to push.' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Giant Telescope Lenses Made In Space
'...a cyclopean beast living among the asteroidal rubble of some distant sun.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Your Martian Dream Home, Made By Fungi
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'

100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Should We Train AIs To Imagine A Future Of Horrific Disasters
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'

Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.'

3D Printed Robotic Tentacles
'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'

Update: Musk Doubles Down On Optimus Prime Humanoid Robot
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
'And loving it too, those millions. Bloodthirsty to the last one of them.'

AI Employment Decision Software Reconsidered By California Lawmakers
'They had screwed up and been blacklisted by Manna. They were back living with their parents or sleeping on the sofa with a friend.'

Six Ships Are Now Docked At The International Space Station!
It's getting crowded up there!

SUCHO Saving Ukraine's Libraries Digitally
'No human mind could ever hope to master even a small portion of what was being received every second, Sam thought, but it would all be there...'

Optimus Prime Tesla Robot Overall Humanoid Software Architecture
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Vast Cosmic Structures And Spooky Alignments
'This postulates a force-field of partly electromagnetic character, generated by gyromagnetic action within atomic nuclei near the center of the galaxy.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.