Scientists closer to Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility

Posted: March 27, 2013

Holy Hogwarts! Scientists are one step closer to creating a real version of Harry Potter's Cloak of Invisibility.

A team of physicists announced Monday they had successfully hidden a seven-inch cylinder from a microwave imaging device with a "three-dimensional stand-alone mantle cloak."

The cloak is constructed out of a "metasurface," an ultrafine mesh of copper-tape filaments, each thinner than a human hair, according to the team's paper published in the New Journal of Physics .

The fishnet design of the metasurface scattered radiowaves in a pattern that was opposite to those reflected from the cylinder, said the team which is based at the University of Texas at Austin.

"When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation," said co-author of the study Andrea Alu.

In principle, the technique could be used to hide objects in visible light, said Alu.

We'll believe it when we don't see it.

Alu told NBCNews that the cloaking materials could be used to camouflage objects from radar.

The paper comes with plenty of caveats. Andit'll be a long while until anyone is able to use the discovery to hunt for the real world equivalents of Voldemort's Horcruxes.

But it's a step in the right direction. Until then, the team believes the cloaking surfaces soon may be used on tiny biomedical and devices.


Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.

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