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The theorists who first created the mathematics that describe the behavior of the recently announced "invisibility cloak" have revealed a new analysis that may extend the current cloak's powers, enabling it to hide even actively radiating objects like a flashlight or cell phone.
Maxwell's equations said that a simple copper disk like the one Smith used could be cloaked without a problem, but anything that emitted electromagnetic waves--a cell phone, a digital watch, or even a simple electric device like a flashlight--caused the behavior of the cloaking device to go seriously awry. The mathematics predicts that the size of the electromagnetic fields go to infinity at the surface of the cloaked region, possibly wrecking the invisibility.
Greenleaf's team determined that a more complicated phenomenon arises when using Maxwell's equations, leading to a "blow up" (an unexpected infinite behavior) of the electromagnetic fields. They determined that by inserting conductive linings, whose properties depend on the specific geometry of the cloak, this problem can be resolved. Alternatively, covering both the inside and outside surfaces of the cloaked region with carefully matched materials can also be used to bypass this problem.