Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Scientists Predict: Submarine cloaking at close range

Scientists have previously created an 'invisibility cloak' made out of metamaterial which bends electromagnetic radiation – like visible light or radar (microwaves) – around a spherical space. The bending makes objects within the sphere appear invisible.

Until now, scientists could only make objects appear invisible from far away. Liverpool mathematician Dr Sébastien Guenneau, together with Dr Frédéric Zolla and Professors André Nicolet from the University of Marseille, have proven - using a specially designed computer model called GETDP - that objects can also be made to appear invisible from close range when light travels in waves rather than beams.

Scientists predict that metamaterials could be of use in military technology, such as in the construction of fighter jets and submarines, but it will be some years before invisibility cloaks can be developed for human beings.

"Until now, however, it was not clear whether photons – particles that make up all forms of light – can split and form new waves when the light source is close to the object. If we use ray optic techniques – where light travels in beams - photons break down at close range and the object does not appear invisible. If we study light as it travels in waves however, invisibility is maintained."

Now, some scientists predict that invisibility will be possible for any objects within the next decade.

Vigilis expects cloaking would be first seen publicly in a Disney display. The best real world submarine application would be the



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