Friday 4 May 2007

we will be invisible


A child´s dream: to spy on a girl´s rainlight shower without getting caught. A spies dream... Or a mythic sci-fi hearts desire. Like Iris the messenger of the gods. It seems now that invisibility is a near-future possibility.

Scientists have already created an ‘invisibility cloak’ made out of ‘metamaterial’ (a complex hybrid structure of metal and insulator that makes light move around an object like air flowing over an airplane wing. In a process called refraction, these materials interact with light in such a way that it travels faster through the metamaterial than it does through a vacuum, the famed c in Einstein’s special theory of relativity). Until now, scientists could only make objects appear invisible from far away. Liverpool mathematician Dr Sébastien Guenneau, together with Dr Frédéric Zolla and Professors André Nicolet from the University of Marseille, have proven - using a computer model called GETDP - that objects can also be made to appear invisible from close range when light travels in waves rather than beams. Scientists predict that metamaterials could be of use in military technology, such as in the construction of fighter jets and submarines, but it will be some years before invisibility cloaks can be developed for human beings.

"Using this new computer model we can prove that light can bend around an object under a cloak and is not diffracted by the object. This happens because the metamaterial that makes up the cloak stretches the metrics of space, in a similar way to what heavy planets and stars do for the metrics of space-time in Einstein’s general relativity theory".

“Until now, however, it was not clear whether photons – particles that make up all forms of light – can split and form new waves when the light source is close to the object. If we use ray optic techniques – where light travels in beams - photons break down at close range and the object does not appear invisible. If we study light as it travels in waves however, invisibility is maintained.”

Scientists predict that invisibility will be possible for objects of any shape and size within the next decade.

Of course the distribuition of the metamaterial will be limited to militar elites or unearthly tychoons, at exorbitant prices, and with highroller interests closely guarded. As it is an issue of power, ethics and etherrealization.

Perhaps, even, invisibility shields and cloaks have existed for some time as a part of a bizarre alien technology and we are totally unaware of this invisible hovering control deploys.

http://gizmag.com/go/7186/

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