Lots of us wish we had a way to wrap ourselves in a cloaking device or blanket that would hide us from the world. Whether you were a Star Trek fan in the 1960s or a Harry Potter fan, you’ve probably thought about how handy that would be. Well get ready, because scientists might be a step closer to inventing a type of invisibility cloak, thanks to researchers at Berkeley. They’re in the process of creating an ultra-thin material that can make some objects nearly invisible – if the light is just right:
For now, this cloak is exceedingly small and covers only an object about 1,300 square microns. But the device, described in the journal Science, offers a proof of concept that could potentially be scaled up in the future.
Previous invisibility cloaks tried to gently redirect the light around the object they were hiding – but this required using lots of material, making the cloaks far bulkier than the object they were trying to conceal.
“That is not practical,” said study coauthor Xiang Zhang, a materials scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “You have to carry a huge cloak around you.”
For this new device, however, the scientists instead decided to scatter the incoming light using a very thin metamaterial – a material whose physical structure, rather than its chemical composition, allow it to manipulate light.
I was asked the other day about how I invent – how I generate new ideas. Well, among other things I read a ton – and not just in the areas in which I’m looking to invent in, but all sorts of things – everything from business to tech to cultural to social. Even hit up […]
Nanotechnology is changing the way scientists look at sub particles, and the medical experts look at the body. Now researchers say that they have found a way to smuggle drug-carrying nanoparticles past the body’s immune system, by cloaking them to resemble real human blood cells. The use of hybrid nanoparticles that combine both man-made and human cells is just starting to get some attention, with opinions ranging from some doubt to huge support:
Man-made nanoparticles — created from plastic or metal — can be designed to deliver a cargo of drugs to specific areas of the body. But they are often attacked and swallowed up by the body’s natural defence system, which sees them as foreign invaders.
The disguised particles are not only able to evade detection, but also exploit the natural properties of platelets to treat bacterial infections and to repair damaged blood vessels more effectively than conventional ways of delivering drugs, report the team. The researchers were led by Liangfang Zhang at the University of California, San Diego, and published their work in Nature on September 16.