This week’s geek-out Sunday post comes from a friend and reader of this blog. Over the past several years some members of the scientific community – largely driven perhaps by they Harry Potter invisibility cloak gaining mainstream attention (Dungeons & Dragons and Star Trek never really caught on with the greater public) – have postulated that such a device would actually be possible to build. Most of these statements have largely been speculative in nature but below you will see some of the first demonstrable evidence that such a concept can in fact be delivered (albeit in a limited fashion).
The scientists are essentially replicating the effect of a mirage (i.e., photothermal deflection) by “bending” light as it heads toward your eyes. In the case of a natural mirage the heated air over the surface of a road or desert “reflects” an image of the sky instead of the actual asphalt or sand. In this situation the scientists are using carbon nanotubes that can be heated extremely rapidly and thus replicate the phenomenon. The applications for this discovery are limited only to one’s imagination as a switched “invisibility” could be extremely useful in military and non-military industries. That said it will be a while before any battery-powered J.K. Rowling-endorsed invisibility products will be available for sale on Amazon.
- Geek-out Sunday part IV: bioluminescent red tide (marshallstanton.com)
- Geek-out Sunday part III: faster than fast (marshallstanton.com)
- Geek-out Sunday part II: video from space (marshallstanton.com)
- Geek-out Sunday part I: amazing non-Newtonian fluids (marshallstanton.com)
- Carbon Nanotubes in Form of Aerogel Enable Invisibility Cloak (spectrum.ieee.org)
- Invisibility cloak made of carbon nanotubes uses ‘mirage effect’ to disappear (engadget.com)