Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thin, active invisibility cloak demonstrated for first time

Date:
November 12, 2013
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
Invisibility cloaking is no longer the stuff of science fiction: scientists have demonstrated an effective invisibility cloak that is thin, scalable and adaptive to different types and sizes of objects. Professor George Eleftheriades and PhD student Michael Selvanayagam have designed and tested a new approach to cloaking—by surrounding an object with small antennas that collectively radiate an electromagnetic field. The radiated field cancels out any waves scattering off the cloaked object. Their paper ‘Experimental demonstration of active electromagnetic cloaking’ appears today in the journal Physical Review X.

This is the set up of the lab where U of T Professor George Eleftheriades and PhD student Michael Selvanayagam have designed and tested a new approach to cloaking -- by surrounding an object with small antennas that collectively radiate an electromagnetic field. The radiated field cancels out any waves scattering off the cloaked object.
Credit: University of Toronto

Invisibility cloaking is no longer the stuff of science fiction: two researchers in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have demonstrated an effective invisibility cloak that is thin, scalable and adaptive to different types and sizes of objects.

Professor George Eleftheriades and PhD student Michael Selvanayagam have designed and tested a new approach to cloaking -- by surrounding an object with small antennas that collectively radiate an electromagnetic field. The radiated field cancels out any waves scattering off the cloaked object. Their paper 'Experimental demonstration of active electromagnetic cloaking' appears today in the journal Physical Review X.

"We've taken an electrical engineering approach, but that's what we are excited about," says Eleftheriades. "It's very practical."

Picture a mailbox sitting on the street. When light hits the mailbox and bounces back into your eyes, you see the mailbox. When radio waves hit the mailbox and bounce back to your radar detector, you detect the mailbox. Eleftheriades and Selvanyagam's system wraps the mailbox in a layer of tiny antennas that radiate a field away from the box, cancelling out any waves that would bounce back. In this way, the mailbox becomes undetectable to radar.

"We've demonstrated a different way of doing it," says Eleftheriades. "It's very simple: instead of surrounding what you're trying to cloak with a thick metamaterial shell, we surround it with one layer of tiny antennas, and this layer radiates back a field that cancels the reflections from the object."

Their experimental demonstration effectively cloaked a metal cylinder from radio waves using one layer of loop antennas. The system can be scaled up to cloak larger objects using more loops, and Eleftheriades says the loops could become printed and flat, like a blanket or skin. Currently the antenna loops must be manually attuned to the electromagnetic frequency they need to cancel, but in future they could function both as sensors and active antennas, adjusting to different waves in real time, much like the technology behind noise-cancelling headphones.

Work on developing a functional invisibility cloak began around 2006, but early systems were necessarily large and clunky -- if you wanted to cloak a car, for example, in practice you would have to completely envelop the vehicle in many layers of metamaterials in order to effectively "shield" it from electromagnetic radiation. The sheer size and inflexibility of the approach makes it impractical for real-world uses. Earlier attempts to make thin cloaks were not adaptive and active, and could work only for specific small objects.

Beyond obvious applications, such as hiding military vehicles or conducting surveillance operations, this cloaking technology could eliminate obstacles -- for example, structures interrupting signals from cellular base stations could be cloaked to allow signals to pass by freely. The system can also alter the signature of a cloaked object, making it appear bigger, smaller, or even shifting it in space. And though their tests showed the cloaking system works with radio waves, re-tuning it to work with Terahertz (T-rays) or light waves could use the same principle as the necessary antenna technology matures.

"There are more applications for radio than for light," says Eleftheriades. "It's just a matter of technology -- you can use the same principle for light, and the corresponding antenna technology is a very hot area of research."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael Selvanayagam, George V. Eleftheriades. Experimental Demonstration of Active Electromagnetic Cloaking. Physical Review X, 2013; 3 (4) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.3.041011

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Thin, active invisibility cloak demonstrated for first time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112132627.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2013, November 12). Thin, active invisibility cloak demonstrated for first time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112132627.htm
University of Toronto. "Thin, active invisibility cloak demonstrated for first time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131112132627.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) An electric car that proponents hope will replace horse-drawn carriages in New York City has also been revealed at the auto show. (Apr. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

Honda's New ASIMO Robot, More Human-Like Than Ever

AFP (Apr. 17, 2014) It walks and runs, even up and down stairs. It can open a bottle and serve a drink, and politely tries to shake hands with a stranger. Meet the latest ASIMO, Honda's humanoid robot. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins