Cloak blanket bringing us closer to the dream of true invisibility

Cloaking technology doesn't only exist in the realm of science fiction: researchers at Imperial College London are trying to create a cloaking blanket to hide objects in visible light — something that has never been done.

Visible light's small wavelength makes it difficult to work with, since to cloak something researchers need to channel the light in specific ways. To do this, the cloak blanket proposed by Imperial College London would need to be made up of structures nanometers in size which, as John Pendry, one of the scientists working on the technology told the Discovery Channel, "requires some clever nanotechnology."

Pendry likens how the technology may work to a mirage, which, in a sense, is a form of cloaking found in nature. Instead of forming a temperature gradient as a mirage does to shroud what's beyond, the blanket, using a mixture of silicon and silica, would cause visible light to make an about-face, resembling a mirror.

While a mirror isn't a cloak, being able to find a way to fabricate a material which is proven to manipulate visible light in a desired way is a huge step. The team is so confident that they don't see why a true cloaking blanket couldn't be realized within the next few years.

Discovery News, via Gizmowatch