Humans have been thinking about invisibility for thousands of years, but only recently has the technology to make it possible been near reality. Metamaterials could be used to construct an invisibility cloak, but they are difficult to build that we still cannot cloak large objects. Researchers at the University of Central Florida though have found a way that may open the door to manufacturing large-area metamaterials.
One of the interesting consequences of physical laws being mathematical formulae is that they can often be ways to manipulate the math to something beyond what is found in Nature. Metamaterials are materials that have those properties that do not exist naturally, such as negative indices of refraction. Using metamaterials it is possible to direct light, and other waves, around an area, making it appear that nothing is within that area, thus creating an invisibility cloak. As metamaterials have very special structure to them, it can be prohibitively difficult to hide large areas, but using nanotransfer printing could change that, according to the UCF researchers. This fabrication method operates by creating metal/dielectric composite films and stacking them into a 3D architecture. With enough precision the new material can have the structure needed to act as a metamaterial.
With more work, the researchers hope to improve the fabrication process enough to build large pieces of metamaterials that can be used for real-life applications. The number of such applications is almost limitless as any instance of controlling waves could benefit, from stealth technology to wireless communication.
Source: University of Central Florida