Last year researchers mathematically showed it should be possible to create a device similar to an invisibility cloak, but instead of redirecting light around an object, it would redirect heat. Now researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have created such a cloak out of copper and a silicon material.
The design of this cloak borrows greatly from metamaterial cloaks, which cause light to bend around an object, instead of striking and reflecting off of it. As copper is a good conductor of heat and PDMS silicon is not, the researchers were able to design the circular device to conduct the heat in specific directions around it, while also controlling the speed of the heat flow. This allows heat to uniformly distribute from one edge to the opposite, but the area in the center is left untouched.
As the theory behind thermal cloaks is still quite new, researchers are not able to predict all its applications. However, they do foresee it being used with electronic components, such as microchips, to manage heat.