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Sci-Fi Science

Duke University Creates Perfect, Centimeter-scale Invisibility Cloak 96

MrSeb writes "Scientists at Duke University have created the first invisibility cloak that perfectly hides centimeter-scale objects. While invisibility cloaks have been created before, they have all reflected some of the incident light, ruining the illusion. In this case, the incident light is perfectly channeled around the object, creating perfect invisibility. There are some caveats, of course. For now, the Duke invisibility cloak only works with microwave radiation — and perhaps more importantly, the cloak is unidirectional (it only provides invisibility from one very specific direction). The big news here, though, is that it is even possible to create an invisibility cloak of any description. It is now just a matter of time before visible-light, omnidirectional invisibility cloaks are created."
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Duke University Creates Perfect, Centimeter-scale Invisibility Cloak

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  • Re:Cloaking first? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by captainpanic ( 1173915 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @10:55AM (#41956175)

    Looking at the capabilities of mobile phones today, I would suggest the tricorders arrived before the cloaking.

    What I am saying is that it's one thing to develop an invisibility cloak. It's another thing altogether to avoid being tagged while wearing it.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:06AM (#41956265)

    Unidirectional microwave-only cloak -> omnidirectional visible light cloak?
    It's gonna take a little more than "a few years".

    The biggest problem I see from having done lots of RF engineering in the lower microwave range (mostly FCC part 97, but some telco work, aside from the wifi stuff that "everyone" does) is specs always improve, but the basic layouts / schematics / ideas don't change very much.

    Higher freqs? Sure. A heck of a lot of orders of magnitude? Um, maybe, over the course of a lifetime and billions of bucks. Unidirectional to omni? Um no.

    You can make a "better" horn antenna. You can do crazy stuff to eat the sidelobes. You can make it lighter, or wider bandwidth, or better behavior when it multimodes. You can make it lower loss. But fundamentally, its still a microwave horn antenna. This fundamental issue is analogy to trying to make a unidirectional cloak.

    This doesn't mean its useless. You know what would be funny? A anti-anything missile that is radar invisible from the pointy end. Who cares if you can see it from the back or side, its too late by then. To the best of my limited knowledge from playing Harpoon, etc, all American anti-anti-ship missiles are radar guided as are the ancient Phalanx miniguns.

    One interesting RF observation is its a serious challenge to "really" do microwave RF work over a factor of 2 in freq. Can be done, but doesn't mean its easy or its more than cheating (multiple colocated systems... making a big pile simply isn't technologically interesting). The relevance is an X-band invisible car would probably not be invisible at K band. Or something invisible to red is probably going to be blue visible, unless you run multiple systems. Or something invisible to blue is probably not going to be invisible to IR targeting lasers.

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:11AM (#41956301)
    It has always been an internal moral compass that guides us. Few people do not commit murder or any other crime because of the fear of law enforcement.
    The question becomes, does that moral compass derive from superstitious psuedo-belief in some omniscient power, government instilled fears, or a true sense of what is the path of the least harm to the fewest numbers of others?
    If I really want to kill someone, or rob them, or rape them, I will find a way to do it, law and others be dammed. It simply becomes a matter of proper planning and (ahem) execution.
    The invention of the knife did not 'legalize' murder, neither did the invention of the gun, or the fist for that matter. What legalizes it is our own mind and definition of moral. Regardless of the tools used.
    Law enforcement, like much religion, is simply a fear mongering device used to direct the thoughtless masses.
  • Re:Optimism. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:15PM (#41957049) Homepage

    Buzz Aldrin's proposed Mars Cycler would take about 5 months to shuttle "stuff" to and from Mars' orbit.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller