Andrea Alù and Researchers Make Objects 'Invisible' with 3-D Cloaking Technique

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

With the guidance of Assistant Professor and WNCG newcomer Andrea Alù, researchers have demonstrated for the first time that it's possible to make a 3-D object invisible to microwaves. This is a discovery that could bring us a step closer to hiding large and diverse objects from being detected by the visible eye or radar, such as stealth planes and even sensing devices used in nanoscale research. This WNCG research team used a method known as 'plasmonic cloaking' to hide an 18-centimeter cylindrical tube from microwaves. The research, featured in the video above, is the first to show how ordinary objects can be cloaked in their natural environment in all directions and from all of an observer's positions. Previous research has focused on the theoretical possibility of cloaking or been limited to cloaking 2-D objects. The cloaking technique developed by Alù and his students is one of the most unique and innovative methods to date and could usher more practical applications for cloaking. Among these techniques is cloaking the tips of sensing devices used in nanoscale research so that the tips do not interfere with observations of objects, or the cloaking of 'hot spots' on stealth planes, making them even less detectable. The researchers used resources at WNCG and the Texas Advanced Computing Center to plan and refine the design of the metamaterial used for the cloak.