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15.07.2016

EECS Scientists move one step closer to creating an invisibility cloak

EECS Scientists move one step closer to creating an invisibility cloak

EECS Researchers worked with UK industry to demonstrate for the first time a practical   cloaking device that allows curved surfaces to appear flat to   electromagnetic waves.

While the research might not lead to the invisibility cloak made famous in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter novels quite yet, this practical demonstration could result in a   step-change in how antennas are tethered to their platform. It could   allow for antennas in different shapes and sizes to be attached in   awkward places and a wide variety of materials.  

EECS’ Co-author, Professor Yang Hao,  said: “The design is based upon transformation optics, a concept behind   the idea of the invisibility cloak.

“Previous research has shown   this technique working at one frequency. However, we can demonstrate   that it works at a greater range of frequencies making it more useful   for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the   aerospace industry.”

The researchers coated a curved surface,  similar to the size of a tennis ball with a nanocomposite medium, which   has seven distinct layers (called graded index nanocomposite) where the   electric property of each layer varies depending on the position. The   effect is to ‘cloak’ the object: such a structure can hide an object   that would ordinarily have caused the wave to be scattered

 


 
 

The   picture on top shows the cloak not in use (a uniform dielectric   permittivity distribution along the surface): the presence of the object   along the path of the traveling wave, drastically changes its electric   field configuration. 

  

   
 

On the bottom, where the cloak is   in action and the graded-index nanocomposite has been applied, there is a   reduction in the amount of shadowing seen immediately after the object,  as well as a noticeable improvement in the reconstruction of wave   fronts.

The underlying design approach has much wider   applications, ranging from microwave to optics for the control of any   kind of electromagnetic surface waves.

First author Dr Luigi La Spada also from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science,  said: “The study and manipulation of surface waves is the key to   develop technological and industrial solutions in the design of   real-life platforms, for different application fields.

“We   demonstrated a practical possibility to use nanocomposites to control   surface wave propagation through advanced additive manufacturing.  Perhaps most importantly, the approach used can be applied to other   physical phenomena that are described by wave equations, such as   acoustics. For this reason, we believe that this work has a great   industrial impact.”

The research is funded by an EPSRC programme   grant – QUEST (The quest for ultimate electromagnetics using spatial   transformations) and published in the journal Scientific Reports.  

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CATEGORY: Research

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