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Additive Manufacturing Technology Brings Scientists One Step Closer to Creating an ‘Invisibility Cloak’

by • July 18, 2016 • No Comments

harry-potter-invisbility-cloakAn official survey announced that two out of three individuals, when asked what magical power or item they may select if they had to pick one, may take an invisibility cloak over anything else. And who can blame them? It let Harry Potter get away with things that may have immediately gotten him expelled if he had been caught. Just imagine the havoc that may be wreaked – I mean, the excellent and productive things that may be completed – with one of those things. In the spirit of full disclosure, it wasn’t precisely an “official” survey, additional like a few nerds sitting around a bonfire, but I yet consider it an accurate representation of the magical preferences of the general populace.

Now comes the news, announcing yet again the satisfactory line between science and magic, that scientists have come a step nearer to creating an actual invisibility cloak. Before you freak out and assault an owl by attempting to tie mail to its foot, I have to tell you that this Muggle create of the invisibility cloak is a bit various of Harry Potter’s. It can’t in fact manufacture individuals invisible (sorry!) – but it can manufacture sure objects dislook, at very least where electromagnetic waves are concerned, by cavia curved surfaces to look flat.

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) utilized an additive producing innovation that involved coating a tennis ball-sized curved metallic surface with a nanocomposite medium consisting of sactually distinct layers with varying electric properties depending on their positions. The effect of the layered nanocomposite medium, called a graded index nanocomposite, is that electromagnetic waves, that normally may scatter when striking the object, pass right over it without disruption – as yet it is not actually there.

“In this paper, we experimentally demonstrate for the initially time a dielectric surface wave cloak of engineered gradient index materials to illustrate the possibility of via nanocomposites to control surface wave propagation through high end additive producing” the researchers say in their paper’s abstract. “The device is created analytically and validated through numerical simulations and measurements, revealing excellent agreement and performance as an effective surface wave cloak. The underlying create approach has much wider applications, that span of microwave to optics for the control of surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and radiation of nanoantennas,”


Electromagnetic waves hitting cloaked object.

“The create is based upon transformation optics, a concept behind the thought of the invisibility cloak,” said Professor Yang Hao of QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. “Previous research has shown this technique working at one frequency. But, we can demonstrate that it works at a excellenter range of frequencies producing it additional useful for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the aerospace industry.”

Hao is one of the authors of the not long ago published study “Surface Wave Cloak of Graded Refractive Index Nanocomposites.” It is not the initially time scientists have created invisibility cloak-like materials, and cloaking technologies stay under regular study, but as Hao says, QMUL’s research has the future to take the innovation additional than it’s been taken preceding, and utilized for a wider range of applications. It may alter the way antennae are attached to their bases, enabling antennae of varying shapes and sizes to be attached in awkward places and to various materials that weren’t possible preceding.


From the researchers’ paper: Cosine-shaped surface deformation: (a) top-view and (b) side-view; Schematic indicating the required permittivity values for every layer (c); 3D printed prototype of the cloak structure with cross-section inset (d); Fabricated surface wave structures: (e) plane view of the samples and (f) the three composite structures manufactured.

“The study and manipulation of surface waves is the key to create technological and industrial solutions in the create of real-life platforms, for various application fields,” said Dr. Luigi La Spada, in addition of the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. “We demonstrated a practical possibility to use nanocomposites to control surface wave propagation through high end additive producing. Perhaps many importantly, the approach utilized can be applied to other physical phenomena that are defined by wave equations, such as acoustics. For this reason, we believe that this work has a excellent industrial impact.”

Queen_Mary,_University_of_London_logo.svgSo while kids (and many adults, let’s be fair) may be disappointed that they yet can’t access the innovation to let them sneak around invisibly, the study of the QMUL researchers may outcome in a few awe-inspiring (dare we say magical?) new applications in aerospace and engineering. Their “invisibility cloak” may not be able-bodied to hide humans of sight, but the fact stays that they in fact created an object dislook.

The research is being funded by a QUEST (The quest for ultimate electromagnetics via spatial transformations) grant of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Is an invisibility cloak a fewthing you dream of having? Let’s discuss over in the 3D Printing Invisibility Cloaks forum at 3DPB.com.