Science Weekly: Scientists successfully test invisibility cloaking

Invisibility cloaking has been something from science fiction for decades — but now two researchers in the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have successfully demonstrated an invisibility cloak.

Professor George Eleftheriades and Ph.D. student Michael Selvanayagam designed a thin, scalable and adaptive invisibility cloak. The new approach in cloaking is surrounded by small antennas that radiate an electromagnetic field. The radiating field cancels out any waves scattering off the cloaked object.

Their research paper, “Experimental demonstration of active electromagnetic cloaking,” appeared in “Physical Review X” on Nov. 12.

When light hits an object, it bounces back to the eyes so one can see the object. It is similar with radar. Radio waves hit the object and bounce back so people are able to detect it with a radar detector. Eleftheriades and Selvanayagam can wrap the object in a thin layer of their tiny antennas that can cancel out any waves that would bounce back from the object.

Development of a functional invisibility cloak began in 2006. All previous attempts were too impractical for real-world use.

This new system can also adjust the signature of an object, making it appear bigger or smaller or shifting it in space.

Eleftheriades said they hope to retune it to work just as well with Terahertz (light waves) as it does with radio waves.

Researchers hope the cloak will have more real-world use than just the obvious military use. Buildings and structures that interrupt cellular signals could be cloaked in this technology and allow signals to pass by the structure without obstruction.