The invisibility cloak is one of those famous gadgets from famous movies that still lies in the hearts of its fans. From Star Trek to Harry Potter, fans have wanted to own an invisibility cloak in their childhood as well as adulthood. Now the imaginary cloak will no longer stay imaginary and will soon be created by a group of researchers. A group of researchers has discovered a way to create a new class of material. The way this material bends light can be the foundation to create a fully functional invisibility cloak.
The researchers from Northwestern University are excited about the new discovery that they have recently made and created a material that is a negative refraction material. The researchers combined DNA with gold nanoparticles to create a shape-shifting structure. It can shift to the desired point on a color spectrum. They created a programmable new material using the same process that is used to create computer chips with programmable DNA. The specialty of the material is that the researchers are able to control the properties of the new material. This enables them to manipulate the individual particle to change for any purpose.
The material is created by the mutual effort of chemists and physicists both. It can bend light and can create the illusion that it is invisible. The new technique not only bends the light but also bounces the light back. Using the material can also manipulate light to make it respond in various ways.
The history of invisibility cloak goes back to the mid-60s but it has just moved from science fiction to implementable science in the past decade. Apart from the ‘cool’ and ‘wow’ effect that the negative refraction brings with it, there are plenty of uses of the material ranging from urban development to aerospace.
The lithography technique used in the discovery of this new material is itself revolutionary. This idea goes back to 1996, the ability to create metamaterials or materials that don’t exist in nature but it is still an exciting new field for the researchers. Chad A. Mirkin of Mirkin Research Group at Northwestern University said, “We can make structures that nobody’s ever even conceived of before; this is a true man-over-nature event.”
It will indeed be exciting to see what commercial technology will emerge out of this new material or how the different variations will be created out of it. To get the invisibility cloak produced and available to the fans, there are still five more years to go. But hopefully, the final product will be worth the wait.