'Perfect' invisibility cloak works by tackling reflected light

Duke University scientists David Smith and Nathan Landy have achieved "perfect invisibility" — something that researchers around the world have been working on for years. Up until now, cloaking has been incomplete as each test has reflected some light back and made the object appear only partially hidden.

Smith and Landy have made a centimeter-scale cylinder that is totally invisible to microwaves with help from a diamond-shaped cloaking device, pictured above. Light passes around the edges of the cloaking metamaterial rather than reflecting back, though the effect is dependent on the location of the viewer: "It's like the card people in Alice in Wonderland," Smith told BBC News. "If they turn on their sides you can't see them but they're obviously visible if you look from the other direction."

The concept of "transformation optics" was introduced in 2006 by John Pendry of Imperial College London, as well as Smith and another Duke researcher, David Schurig. Professor Smith told BBC News that, "This to our knowledge is the first cloak that really addresses getting the transformation exactly right to get you that perfect invisibility."

While the cloaking device above wouldn't help make you or me invisible — and what good is it then, right? — it could lead to advances in radar, communications or anything involving microwaves. Failing any of that, it'd look pretty good hanging on a wall, don't you think?

Find their complete study here.

Duke University, via BBC, via Slash Gear

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