Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks: A real possibility next Christmas?

December 20, 2013

Mums and Dads beware, next year's Christmas wish list could be more out of reach (or sight…) than ever before. Invisibility, a long sought-after speculation in science fiction, has been turned into reality in the laboratory through the use of a theoretical technique called Transformation Optics.

In his article, 'Transformation optics and cloaking', Martin McCall, Professor of Theoretical Optics at Imperial College London, describes how the scientific principles leading to perfect invisibility, or cloaking, are now established.

Published in the academic journal Contemporary Physics, the research goes on to explain that 'Part of the impetus for current invisibility research is undoubtedly its public appeal – every scientist's child, my own included, would like to own an invisibility . However, apart from obvious military possibilities, invisibility research is showing signs of penetrating technology at apparently more mundane, but also more immediate, levels. Transporting and processing optical signals is the basis for global communication, and it is here that we may see the first commercial applications of cloaking technology.'

If Harry Potter-style invisibility cloaks are invented in time for next Christmas, they will surely be the 'must have' gift for children and adults everywhere.

Explore further: New 'thermal' approach to invisibility cloaking hides heat to enhance technology

More information: "Transformation optics and cloaking." Martin McCall. Contemporary Physics Vol. 54, Iss. 6, 2013. DOI: 10.1080/00107514.2013.847678

Related Stories

One size cloaks all

November 21, 2012

A metamaterial invisibility cloak that can adapt to hide different sized objects is demonstrated by in Nature Communications this week. The findings represent a useful advance for more practical applications of metamaterial ...

Got 15 minutes? Invisibility cloak coming up

September 11, 2013

(Phys.org) —Researchers have discovered an alternative way to make an invisibility cloak that departs from other attempts to do so. Attempts in the past have been via metamaterials, created by assembling structures that ...

Thin, active invisibility cloak demonstrated for first time

November 12, 2013

(Phys.org) —Invisibility cloaking is no longer the stuff of science fiction: two researchers in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have demonstrated an effective invisibility cloak ...

Recommended for you

Understanding nature's patterns with plasmas

August 23, 2016

Patterns abound in nature, from zebra stripes and leopard spots to honeycombs and bands of clouds. Somehow, these patterns form and organize all by themselves. To better understand how, researchers have now created a new ...

Measuring tiny forces with light

August 25, 2016

Photons are bizarre: They have no mass, but they do have momentum. And that allows researchers to do counterintuitive things with photons, such as using light to push matter around.

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling

August 22, 2016

Where light and matter intersect, the world illuminates. Where light and matter interact so strongly that they become one, they illuminate a world of new physics, according to Rice University scientists.

A new study looks for the cortical conscious network

August 26, 2016

New research published in the New Journal of Physics tries to decompose the structural layers of the cortical network to different hierarchies enabling to identify the network's nucleus, from which our consciousness could ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

shavera
5 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2013
This is one of the absolutely most lazy worthless articles ever put on this site. Doesn't say anything new about science. Stupid hook about them being "next year's Christmas toys" (exceedingly unlikely, since we've been years in the development of only the most simplistic optical "cloaks") 0/10 would not read again.
marcush
not rated yet Jan 09, 2014
Not to mention all the naughty behaviour that would occur.....

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.