Jealous of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak? Yours could be coming soon. A new cloaking device doesn't work on visible light yet, but it makes objects invisible to microwave light.
Warner Brothers / LiveScience.com
A miniature version of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak now exists, though it works only in microwave light, and not visible light, so far.
Still, it's a nifty trick, and the physicists who've created the new cloak say it's a step closer to realizing the kind of invisibility cloak that could hide a person in broad daylight.
The invention is made of a new kind of material called a metascreen, created from strips of copper tape attached to a flexible polycarbonate film. The copper strips are only 66 micrometers (66 millionths of a meter) thick, while the polycarbonate film is 100 micrometers thick, and the two are combined in a diagonal fishnet pattern.
The creation is a departure from previous attempts to create invisibility cloaks, which have aimed to bend light rays around an object so that they don't scatter, or reflect off it, a technique that relies on so-called bulk metamaterials. Instead, the new cloak uses a technique called mantle cloaking to cancel out light waves that bounce off the shielded object so that none survive to reach an observer's eye.