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Researchers have constructed an invisibility cloak capable of hiding a tiny object by altering the behavior of the light that hits it. This is the first invisibility cloak made out of sophisticated, artificial materials called metamaterials that work with the full spectrum of light visible to the human eye. The cloak the researchers constructed and tested could disguise a miniscule object, 0.000024 inches wide by 0.000012 inches high (6 microns high by 300 nanometers wide) — roughly the size of a red blood cell or 100 times thinner than a human hair, according to study researcher Majid Gharghi, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
Materials that bend light in unnatural ways are often touted as the path to futuristic technologies such as cloaking devices and super-powered lenses. But such materials are hard to make, but scientists have now discovered a simpler way using electrons. At Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a team of researchers led by Hosang Yoon and Donhee Ham showed that using ordinary semiconductors and confining electrons to a two-dimensional plane they could make a material with a so-called negative refractive index that bends radio waves the “wrong” way, and does so a hundred times better than other methods.
The cloak the researchers constructed and tested could disguise a miniscule object, 0.000024 inches wide by 0.000012 inches high (6 microns high by 300 nanometers wide)