The art of invisibility and the perfect cat's eye

June 30, 2009
Design for the perfect cat's eye

( -- In recent years scientists have explored the impossible by developing invisibility or 'cloaking' devices, but can the same technology also help make things more visible?

Using the science of invisibility, a team from National University of Singapore, Masaryk University and the University of St Andrews have come up with a singular solution: the perfect cat's eye.

Cat's eyes shine when they are caught in the light of cars, and appear to glow in the dark. A mirror positioned at the back of a cat's eye reflects light back to its source - back towards the car's headlights. This works well for light from some angles, but not for all.

Physicists have wondered whether it would be possible to design a cat's eye that could reflect light from every angle. Finding that this was something that couldn't be done with mirrors, researchers turned to the science of singularities.

An optical material like glass changes the speed of light and may change its direction. At a singularity, the speed of light should appear to become infinite or zero, and waves travel infinitely slow or infinitely fast - which seems to be impossible. However, according to a concept by Tomas Tyc from Masaryk University and Ulf Leonhardt from the University of St Andrews, it can be done.

Using 'transformation optics', one of the latest fields of optical science and the key to the creation of invisibility devices (put forward by Leonhardt and Sir John Pendry of Imperial College in 2006), the physicists were able to transmute the singularity into something more practical.

Professor Leonhardt said "Singularities are the curses of physics. Like the curse of the wicked fairy godmother in Sleeping Beauty, they cannot be taken back, but they can be altered with some pure and applied magic, aka science. We achieved this for optical singularities - and it worked remarkably well."

Yun Gui Ma and CK Ong from National University of Singapore, closely collaborating with Tyc and Leonhardt, built a perfect omnidirectional retroreflector for microwave radiation. The instrument is able to reflect images and create high visibility from all directions, as the team writes in the journal 'Nature Materials'. Microwaves, used for wireless technology, mobile phones and radar, are electromagnetic waves like light, but with a much longer wavelength.

The scientists believe that with further development, the same technology could also work for waves. The perfect cat's eye may soon help you to be seen wherever you are and from whatever angle.

Provided by University of St Andrews

Explore further: Using invisibility to increase visibility

Related Stories

Using invisibility to increase visibility

November 27, 2008

Research into the development of invisibility devices has spurred two physicists' thought on the behaviour of light to overcome the seemingly intractable problem of optical singularities which could soon lead to the manufacturing ...

Visualising invisibility

July 31, 2006

Invisibility has been an ingredient of myths, novels and films for millennia – from Perseus versus Medusa in Greek legend to James Bond’s latest car and Harry Potter’s cloak. A new study published today by the Institute ...

Black Holes Made of Light

March 6, 2008

Scientists at the University of St Andrews have used lasers to simulate a black hole in their laboratory.

Black holes not black after all

May 12, 2008

International scientists have used flowing water to simulate a black hole, testing Stephen Hawking's theory that black holes are not black after all.

Recommended for you

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

November 20, 2017

At any given moment, the Earth's atmosphere is showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic rays collide with the ...

A curious quirk brings organic diode lasers one step closer

November 20, 2017

Since their invention in 1962, semiconductor diode lasers have revolutionized communications and made possible information storage and retrieval in CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray devices. These diode lasers use inorganic semiconductors ...

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

November 17, 2017

Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.

Strain-free epitaxy of germanium film on mica

November 17, 2017

Germanium, an elemental semiconductor, was the material of choice in the early history of electronic devices, before it was largely replaced by silicon. But due to its high charge carrier mobility—higher than silicon by ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 30, 2009
Couldn't be done with mirrors? A cube of corner reflectors should work fine.
Jun 30, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
3 / 5 (4) Jun 30, 2009
Sounds like witchcraft to me. Now where did I leave my witch-burning pants?
1 / 5 (1) Jul 01, 2009
"An optical material like glass changes the speed of light and may change its direction."

Yes, which is why when you take a pyramid, place it in a gravitational field like the earth's..which is have a MOTOR.

Ie a flowing forced differential.

In the case of a pyramid, it is shaped and directional..and geometrically shaped and placed to perfection, on the surface of the a feat we can't even remotely replicate today.

In the case of a pyramid...if you cap Van de Graaff generator with a perfect pyramid (in the exact style of the great pyramid)..and run the generator...of the top of the will get a perfect DNA like DOUBLE HELIX of energy. ---...TRUE. try it and see.

Then, the point that the pyramid was originally covered in a separate and perfect SKIN of PIEZOELECTRIC sensitive and/or generating stone. And that the stacking of the skin on the outside was a mechanical equivalent of a ratcheting diode. And voltages were PUMPED to the top with great efficiency. INCREDIBLE voltage levels, no less. Ionization?? A bit beyond that, laddie.

Then the capstone: the electrode.

When you add in that many see gravitation, mass, time, etc as as the electrical equivalent of a voltage or polarizing differential..then you get to some REALLY interesting science.

WTF???? WTF????

Read up on the stories about the food of the gods, the monatomics and how the priests and the Pharohs where into consuming it (naval academy research on studies about the human body being primarily a superconducting state with regards to inter-cell communication)..and this can begin to make more sense.

Apparently creating the monatomics, like making NANOTUBES with high voltage ARCS..well..the two are the same...
1 / 5 (1) Jul 01, 2009
Thus the all seeing eye at the top of the pyramid.

Dimensional egress (BOTH WAYS!) through extreme and continual generation (maintenance) of a polarization field of enormous strength.

Maintenance of a 4 axis vectoral spin on the capstone area..... creates a dimensional egress.

Follow it through. Use your best physics, and think. It all fits, it all works.

Do you get it now?
1 / 5 (1) Jul 01, 2009
To clarify:

Maintenance of a 4 axis vectoral spin on the capstone area..... creates a dimensional egress. Gravitation is a flowing system; gravitation is a polarized, oriented gradient in a state of continual flow.....when it comes to it's descriptive on the surface of the planet.

Thus, no static system can overcome gravity, it has to be a flowing patterned polarized system. Then gravity can be overcome.

Exactly like the Indian Mercury Torus as anti-gravity devices as described in the Indian Rig Veda.
1 / 5 (1) Jul 10, 2009
Ok, let me get this straight. They covered the pyramids with cat's eye's?

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.