Saturday, June 21, 2008

Going Invisible

As a member of the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology), I received monthly publication from them. However their latest issue, Vol.3, Issue 8 caught my attention. The cover page is blank at a glance. I thought there is an error by the publisher.

On closer look, the words is visible at certain angle. I thought again maybe the publisher ran out of ink. Apparently, I was wrong. The cover page was suppose to be this way to raise an issue about invisibility.

According to the journal, devices to turn objects and people invisible are not necessarily confined to the realm fiction. Theoretical physicists have been battling with this challenge for some years and now believe that many invisibility 'cloaks' are possible. What's more, their fabrication is relatively simple if we used so called metamaterials known for their interesting optical properties.

The idea behind invisibility is to make light travel around an object in the same that it would take it would take it to go in a straight line if the object was not there. To achieve this, the object must be surrounded by a material that can propogate light at a speed faster than in a vacuum.

Well, I am not going too deep to the technical aspect but we will probably see invisible soldier or spy in the near future as some countries are likely to be interested in this application.

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