Technology has made it possible to see and access things on an unprecedented scale. While this access is great when it’s used for beneficial purposes, such as learning where construction work lies along your commute or being able to virtually attend a lecture from the other side of the world, increased visibility can and does amount to greater vulnerability.
Hackers can easily see your private banking information or other personal details. Surveillance drones can compromise the stealth of military camouflage operations, enemy operatives can hack into critical communications; there seems to be no end to the downside of a vastly connected and remotely searchable world.
As this connectivity grows, the assurance of privacy and even invisibility becomes more valuable.
The Value Of Invisibility
Perhaps that’s what makes the idea and pursuit of an invisibility cloak so intriguing. It’s one thing to encrypt or camouflage, but it’s another thing to seemingly disappear entirely.
Now scientists at UC Berkeley have gotten us closer to that ability and have managed to eliminate many of the shortcomings of previous invisibility cloaks.
Through metamaterial engineering, the Berkeley team was able to create an ultra-thin shroud that’s capable of covering microscopic objects and making them completely undetectable in the visible spectrum. This particular invisibility cloak works using gold nanoantennas that manipulate light waves and makes a 3D object beneath it look like a flat mirror of its surroundings.
Scaling Up This Remarkable Shroud
While this latest inception of the technology overcomes problems with the bending of light and possible detection through specialized instruments, it’s not yet ready for macroscopic applications. In its current, very thin form, the invisibility cloak could already be useful for obscuring electronic component layouts and in contributing to the development of optical computers.
The cloak is only 80 nanometers thick, so there is still much work to be done in scaling it for practical use. Once that is accomplished, this technology could be used to shroud all manner of objects as we’ve seen in science fiction and fantasy. While it’s said to be years before that will happen, it could be a break through capability for all manner of defensive and security applications.
Are you pleased to hear that cloaking technologies like this have made considerable progress? How would you apply this type of capability in your business or your daily life?