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 ")

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.' - Larry Niven, 1970.

Skin Electronics 3D Printed
'June's body is a tracery of lambent lines, like some arcane capillary circuitry...' - Paul Di Filippo, 1985

Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

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.