FRIDAY, 11 MAY 2007A mathematician at the University of Liverpool has designed a unique computer model which makes objects appear invisible from close range.
An ‘invisibility cloak’ made out of so called metamaterials, can bend electromagnetic radiation ,including visible light, around a spherical space, making the object appear invisible.
Until now, scientists had only managed to make objects appear invisible from further distances. But Dr Sébastien Guenneau has designed a special computer model called GETDP, which works at close range, when light travels in waves rather than beams. It can make objects such as aeroplanes and submarines appear invisible.
Dr Guenneau said: “The shape and structure of aeroplanes make them ideal objects for cloaking, as they have a fixed structure and movement pattern. Human beings and animals are more difficult as their movement is very flexible, so the cloak- as it is designed at the moment- would easily be seen when the person or animal made any sudden movement.
“A cloak, such as the one worn by the Harry Potter character for example, is not yet possible but it is a good example of what we are trying to move towards. Using this new computer model we can prove that light can bend around an object under a cloak and is not diffracted by the object. This happens because the metamaterial that makes up the cloak stretches the metrics of space, in a similar way to what heavy planets and stars do for the metrics of space-time in Einstein’s general relativity theory.”
Scientists believe that metamaterials could be useful in military technology, such as in the construction of fighter jets and submarines.
Scientists are predicting that invisibility will be possible for any object, regardless of shape and size within the next decade.
Written by Claire Blackburn