Harry Potter fans rejoice: Researchers have devised an ultra-thin invisibility cloak that can mask three-dimensional objects -- if you’re observing that object in microwave light, that is.
With butterbeer and Bertie Bott's every flavor beans on the market, perhaps it was only a matter of time before invisibility cloaks edged from Hogwarts fantasy toward engineered reality.
Previous research has focused on metamaterials -- man-made materials engineered into tiny repeating patterns that can bend light waves around an object, rather than letting it bounce and scatter from the surface and into our eyes, allowing us to see it.
But a new study, published in the New Journal of Physics, describes a method called "mantle cloaking," which uses a less bulky, more conformable "metascreen" fashioned with 66-micrometer-thick copper strips and 100-micrometer polycarbonate film in a fishnet design. When light hits the cloak, the metascreen cancels out the scattering rays, effectively rendering the object transparent.