Duke University Scientists Unveil Centimeter-Scale Invisibility Cloak

New design creates a flawless invisible effect

By Alexandra Ward
|  Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012  |  Updated 4:24 PM EDT
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Duke University Scientists Unveil Centimeter-Scale Invisibility Cloak

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Duke University scientists have developed a centimeter-scale invisibility cloak.

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Harry Potter fans, rejoice. A cloak of invisibility, like the one featured in the movies, is now a reality -- on a much smaller scale at least.

Inventors have been working toward this for a while now, but researchers with Duke University discovered a new way to tweak existing technology, ExtremeTech.com reported. The theory is that invisibility can be achieved using metamaterials, man-made materials that bend electromagnetic waves, like visible light, around objects to create an illusion. But past methods reflect some light back, which ruins the effect. Duke’s new design uses those same metamaterials, but arranges them in a diamond pattern, which cuts back on the reflective glare.

In an experiment, the cloak fully hid a 7.5 by 1 cm cylinder, The Week said. However, there are a few kinks to be ironed out. For example, the cloak only works with centimeter-scale objects and microwave radiation, ExtremeTech.com said. Also, the illusion only appears when it’s viewed from a very specific angle. Researchers are hoping to unveil an omnidirectional cloak next.  

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