Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Invisibility Cloak Developed

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Invisibility Cloak Developed

Article excerpt

Harry Potter may not have talked much about plasmonics in J.K. Rowling's fantasy series, but University of Maryland (UMD) researchers are using this emerging technology to develop an invisibility cloak that exists beyond the world of bespectacled teenage wizards.

A research team at UMD's A. James Clark School of Engineering comprised of professor Christopher Davis, research scientist Igor Smolyaninov, and graduate student Yu-Ju Hung, has used plasmon technology to create the world's first invisibility cloak for visible light. Plasmons are electron waves generated when light strikes a metallic surface under precise circumstances. The engineers have applied the same technology to build a revolutionary superlens microscope that allows scientists to see details of previously undetectable nanoscale objects.

Generally speaking, when people see an object, they see the visible light that strikes the object and is reflected. The researchers' invisibility cloak refracts (or bends) the light that strikes it, so that the light moves around and past the cloak, reflecting nothing and leaving the cloak and its contents "invisible."

The invisibility cloak device is a two-dimensional (2-D) pattern of concentric rings created in a thin, transparent acrylic plastic layer on a gold film. …

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