Invisibility

Invisibility

Now, you can become as invisible as Harry Potter.

The new invisibility cloak can make you as invisible as you wish. They’re ultrathin- just about thirty nanometers thick. For comparison, a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers thick. How do they work? It’s easy. Invisibility cloaks are made to bend light around something, but fabrics that do this are typically usually hard to make and only work from very small angles — if you walk around a normal invisible object, you’ll be able to see it. But a new cloak- this cloak- avoids that problem, and is thin and flexible enough to be wrapped around an object of any shape.

But how, how does it work?, maybe you’re asking. Easy, too. A group of people at  Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory created a thin cloak made of a 50-nanometer-thick layer of magnesium fluoride (I don’t know what magnesium fluoride is either) topped by an array of tiny, brick-shaped gold antennas, each 30 nanometers thick.  The bricks were built in six different sizes, from about 30 to 220 nanometers long and 90 to 175 nanometers wide. They tested it on a really tiny object. Success!

The tiny object appeared to be invisible because the bricks controlled the scattering of the light that reflects off of the cloak. Normally, light reflecting off an object (even a glass mirror) will scatter at least a little, especially if the shape is oddly shaped. As a result, reflected light appears as colors or reflection, depending on the object. This is changed by the little gold bricks. So, if you tried it on, no one could be able to see you.

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