Full 3-D invisibility cloak in visible light

May 01, 2011

Watching things disappear "is an amazing experience," admits Joachim Fischer of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. But making items vanish is not the reason he creates invisibility cloaks. Rather, the magic-like tricks are attractive demonstrations of the fantastic capabilities that new optical theories and nanotechnology construction methods now enable.

This new area, called “transformation optics” has turned modern optical design on its ear by showing how to manipulate light in ways long thought to be impossible. They promise to improve dramatically such light-based technologies as microscopes, lenses, chip manufacturing and data communications.

In his talk at this year's Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO: 2011, May 1 - 6 in Baltimore), Fischer will describe the first-ever demonstration of a three-dimensional that works for —red light at a wavelength of 700 nm—independent of its polarization (orientation). Previous cloaks required longer wavelength light, such as microwaves or infrared, or required the light to have a single, specific polarization.

Fischer makes the tiny cloak—less than half the cross-section of a human-hair—by direct laser writing (i.e. lithography) into a polymer material to create an intricate structure that resembles a miniature woodpile. The precisely varying thickness of the “logs” enables the cloak to bend light in new ways. The key to this achievement was incorporating several aspects of a diffraction-unlimited microscopy technique into the team’s 3-D direct writing process for building the cloak. The dramatically increased resolution of the improved process enabled the team to create log spacings narrow enough to work in red light.

“If, in the future, we can halve again the log spacing of this red cloak, we could make one that would cover the entire visible spectrum,” Fischer added.

Practical applications of combining transformation optics with advanced 3-D lithography (a customized version of the fabrication steps used to make microcircuits) include flat, aberration-free lenses that can be easily miniaturized for use in integrated optical chips, and optical “black holes” for concentrating and absorbing light. If the latter can also be made to work for visible light, they will be useful in solar cells, since 90 percent of the Sun’s energy reaches Earth as visible and near-infrared light.

Explore further: New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

More information: Presentation QTuG5 “Three-dimensional invisibility carpet cloak at 700 nm wavelength,” by Joachim Fischer et al. is at 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 3. Fischer et al. will also present CML1, “Three-Dimensional Laser Lithography with Conceptually Diffraction-Unlimited Lateral and Axial Resolution,” at 10:15 a.m. Monday, May 2.

Provided by American Institute of Physics

4.6 /5 (17 votes)

Related Stories

Researchers create 3-D invisibility cloak: study

Mar 18, 2010

European researchers have taken the world a step closer to fictional wizard Harry Potter's invisibility cape after they made an object disappear using a three-dimensional "cloak", a study published Thursday in the US-based ...

Meta-flex: Your new brand for invisibility clothing

Nov 03, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A team of physicists are one step closer to creating a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak, with a new form of material that could also be attached to contact lenses to provide 'perfect' ...

Recommended for you

Breakthrough in OLED technology

3 hours ago

Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), which are made from carbon-containing materials, have the potential to revolutionize future display technologies, making low-power displays so thin they'll wrap or fold ...

Throwing light on a mysterious human 'superpower'

6 hours ago

Most people, at some point in their lives, have dreamt of being able to fly like Superman or develop superhuman strength like the Hulk. But very few know that we human beings have a "superpower" of our own, ...

New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

Feb 27, 2015

University of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that ...

The super-resolution revolution

Feb 27, 2015

Cambridge scientists are part of a resolution revolution. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, they are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

DontBeBlind
1.8 / 5 (5) May 02, 2011
These guys are a little behind... Harry Potter already has one of these. !!! :)
Bigblumpkin36
1 / 5 (3) May 05, 2011
This can not be real.
max_coscia
not rated yet May 16, 2011
Another invisibility device? I feel like some variety of this technology is put out every few months.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.