Teaching light to travel around objects

Boston College: Illustration shows light propogating around the East Coast of the US according to instructions from the metamaterial device
Boston College: Illustration shows light propogating around the East Coast of the US according to instructions from the metamaterial device

Looking for an invisibility cloak or a car that blends right into its surroundings? Researchers at Boston College have managed to use what they call ‘metamaterials’ to instruct a beam of light to follow particular pathways.

The researchers accomplished their feat by developing a much more precise set of instructions, which create a grid-like roadmap capable of twisting and turning a beam of light around objects or space. Their discovery is an extension of earlier metamaterial “cloaking” techniques, which have conjured up images of the Harry Potter character disappearing beneath his invisibility cloak.

“Our method combines the novel effects of transformational optics with the practicality of dielectric construction,” Padilla and Landy report. “We show that our structures are capable of guiding light in an almost arbitrary fashion over an unprecedented range of frequencies.”

The process is definitely still in its early stages but the mere thought that such a thing is possible is quite incredible.

[via nanowerk.com]

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