New invisibility cloak to conceal objects in diffusive atmospheres

January 20, 2017, Elhuyar Fundazioa
Recreation of the operation of the layer of invisibility devised by the researchers. Credit: Elhuyar Fundazioa

Researchers at the Public University of Navarre (NUP/UPNA) and the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have come up with a new invisibility cloak capable of concealing objects in diffusive atmospheres, not just in direct light.

As Carlos García-Meca of the UPV's Centre for Nanophotonic Technology explained, diffusive environments are those in which the is not propagated in a straight line, but bounces around. "To provide some cases closer to us, a diffusive environment would be what we find on a foggy day, in cloudy water or in a place with smoke, but also in our organic tissue. Our proposal establishes the basis to make a plane in the fog or a submarine in the sea undetectable," said García-Meca.

The NUP-UPNA and UPV researchers have conducted a simulation of this new invisibility cloak and will soon be working to build it in the lab. "It would be fairly straightforward, because all we would need is two different materials with a specific diffusivity; by playing around with them, we would be capable of producing the cloak that would cause the light to circulate around the object in such a way that the object would be hidden. We could achieve perfect invisibility; but only for diffusive atmospheres, of course," said lead researcher Bakhtiyar Orazbayev, who is conducting his work at the Public University of Navarre.

Background

The idea of making an object invisible by surrounding it in a special material capable of bending the light around it was proposed about a decade ago. Since then, scientists have discovered that producing a device of this type is fraught with difficulties from a fundamental as well a technological point of view.

"It has recently been shown that this difficulty disappears if the object one wants to conceal is in a diffusive environment. In this case, and unlike in non-diffusive atmospheres, it is possible to build, in a fairly straightforward way, of a macroscopic size that work for any light direction and on a high bandwidth. However, the cloaks proposed so far do not work properly when the object is illuminated by short light pulses, essential in a large number of applications," pointed out Alejandro Martínez-Abiétar, researcher at the Centre for Nanophotonic Technology.

Solution

The proposal devised by the UPV and NUP-UPNA researchers solves this problem by taking a different approach based on a technique known as transformation optics, which determines which material is best suited to creating the cloak and concealing the object.

The devices have several applications that cannot be tackled by means of any previous design. "Apart from the ones already mentioned, they would render invisible objects susceptible to causing interference in communication systems and in image tomography systems in which work is often done with diffusive mediums such as organic tissue," concluded Miguel Beruete, a researcher at the Public University of Navarre.

Explore further: New invisibility cloak hides objects from human view

More information: B. Orazbayev et al. Diffusive-light invisibility cloak for transient illumination, Physical Review A (2016). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.94.063850

Related Stories

New invisibility cloak hides objects from human view

July 27, 2011

For the first time, scientists have devised an invisibility cloak material that hides objects from detection using light that is visible to humans. The new device is a leap forward in cloaking materials, according to a report ...

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 ...

Invisibility cloak with photonic crystals

August 30, 2016

Almost as elusive as unicorns, finding practical materials for invisibility cloaking is challenging. Michigan Technological University researchers have new ideas how to solve that.

Recommended for you

Some black holes erase your past

February 21, 2018

In the real world, your past uniquely determines your future. If a physicist knows how the universe starts out, she can calculate its future for all time and all space.

Reaching new heights in laser-accelerated ion energy

February 20, 2018

A laser-driven ion acceleration scheme, developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde, could lead to compact ion sources for established and innovative applications in science, medicine and industry.

MEMS chips get metatlenses

February 20, 2018

Lens technologies have advanced across all scales, from digital cameras and high bandwidth in fiber optics to the LIGO lab instruments. Now, a new lens technology that could be produced using standard computer-chip technology ...

0 comments

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.