Invisibility is real! It is simple too!
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be invisible? Are you in awe by those who use a cloaking device to infiltrate certain locations during movies? I am sure quite a few people have wondered how it would feel to walk into a room unnoticed, listen to conversations incognito, and just plain feel like a superhero.
We have wondered about this! The interesting thing about this idea is that it is possible. The more interesting thing about this idea is that this has been possible for a very long time.
The invisible man
The invisible man is someone that many people want to be. In fact, these powers would change things dramatically. We could find out secrets and avoid confrontations. Unfortunately, we could also become criminals. For now, however, let’s take a look at how this is done.
Some of the accomplishments of making things invisible to the naked eye have been done with high tech equipment and exotic materials as well. This is not necessary.
Cloaking device: The basics
Basically, becoming invisible is not as hard or expensive as it may seem. To understand how to do this, you must first understand the process. The process seems and sounds very simple.
At the University of Rochester, John Howell, professor of Physics, and graduate student Joseph Choi developed a standard procedure for cloaking. Making objects invisible is accomplished with lenses-four of them, to be exact.
These lenses keep the object hidden as the viewer steps back to a certain distance, thus the object disappears. This method is not accomplished through magic, at least not with parlor tricks. This feat is made possible by simply re-directing light around something, making it appear as if it was not even there.
This process can also produce multi-directional cloaking. This is accomplished by using On/Off patterns to gain minimum information about directions and positions without affecting the momentum of the photons passing through the lenses.
It may sound confusing, but trust me, this cloaking device works in a very simple and inexpensive format. You could almost try this at home!
Earlier cloaking devices
The idea of an ‘invisibility cloak’ that makes any object it covers invisible to the eyes of the observer is not new. Scientists have been working on it for some time now. Many efforts have been undertaken in different parts of the world, with different materials (so-called “metamaterials“) and at different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The idea of a cloaking device first emerged in 2006 with an article in the Science journal written by physicist John Pedro of Imperial College London in collaboration with electrical engineers David Smith and David Schurig of Duke University (Durham NC, USA).
Before that, all the attempts failed, and no cloak was perfect since the objects that were to be made invisible reflected a small part of the light. In 2006, a copper cylinder with a diameter of 7.5 cm and a height of one centimeter was made completely invisible in the microwave range.
Scientists at Duke University, led by Professor David Smith, made the light (microwaves) completely ‘slip’ around the covered object, which left no reflection and, therefore, no trace.
The cloaking device had a diamond shape and, as said David Smith said, “was the first one that actually accomplished complete invisibility”, thus, creating the perfect illusion for the observers.
But it will be hard to achieve something similar to the wavelength of visible light, which people see around them. However, invisibility in the microwave range can have several important practical applications, particularly in telecommunications and radar engineering, especially if the technology goes ahead (currently, it works only in one direction).
Since science fiction has made the cloaking topic very popular, we could at least try to make it a fact. I think this has already been done. With a bit of tweaking here and there, cloaking will become as common as catching a flight from state to state. This makes us wonder what will happen next, doesn’t it?
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