Scientists seem to have unlocked another technology that was only available in fantasy movies. Physicists at Duke University have announced that they have successfully cloaked an object with “perfect” invisibility, straight out of Harry Potter.
In 2006 David Smith and his colleagues developed a theory called “transformation optics”. The theory is based on redirecting magnetic fields around an object making it invisible, according to ScienceNOW.
All attempts at testing the theory provided some level of invisibility but it wasn’t until Dr. Smith started experimenting with metamaterials, which are designed to bend light and other radiation around them that they were able to create a Harry Potter style invisibility cloak.
Graduate student Dr. Landy says all earlier versions of a Harry Potter cloak suffered from reflected light. Landy explained to Phys.org that “it was much like reflections seen on clear glass. The viewer can see through the glass just fine, but at the same time the viewer is aware the glass is present due to light reflected from the surface of the glass.”
The new cloak got around it by reworking the materials.
“Landy’s new microwave cloak is naturally divided into four quadrants, each of which have voids or blind spots at their intersections and corners with each other,”explains io9. “Thus, to avoid the reflectivity problem, Landy was able to correct for it by shifting each strip so that is met its mirror image at each interface.”
Smith said of the research:
“This to our knowledge is the first cloak that really addresses getting the transformation exactly right to get you that perfect invisibility.”
So the Harry Potter cloak might not be for sale anytime soon but the possibilities are endless.