European researchers create 3D invisibility technology

Janet Harris

November 25, 2010

European researchers are the first to create an invisibility cloak with the power to make a hidden object invisible in 3 dimensions.

Previous invisibility technology only worked in two dimensions, meaning a hidden object was invisible when viewed head on but was visible when viewed from the side.

At the moment the technology only works on objects less than a millimetre in size, so unless someone somewhere has developed an amazing shrinking machine like the one in Honey I Shrunk The Kids, cloaks big enough to render a person invisible are still a long way away.

The Phome project, which is part of the Digital Agenda for Europe, has created photonic metamaterials which can influence the behaviour of light particles.

The researchers are able to arrange rods measuring just a few hundred nanometres across, in such a way that they can guide light waves around an object, rendering it invisible in three dimensions.

Earlier this month we reported on the efforts of scientists at the University of St Andrews in Scotland to develop a material called Metaflex which could be used to create an invisibility cloak.

It seems that it is only a matter of time before what has previously only existed in the realm of fantasy becomes a part of real life.






 

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