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Invisibility cloak? What’s Next Flying Broomsticks?

Invisibility cloak? Just like Harry Potters? It could be yours in the next few years. Just a rough guess of course, nobody can predict exactly when these things actually begin production.
We can tell you that it is possible though..

Need to dodge that person as you don’t have the information for them yet? Invisibility cloaks should be your go to item at these random times of need. How is this all going to be possible though? Plasmonic materials! Just rolls off the tongue right?

Plasmonic materials, heard of them? Probably not, chances are you will though. Definitely in the next few years.

But what do they do and what is so special about them?

Basically, free electrons on the surface of a metal jump around when hit by light. They do this collectively too. Like a wave of electrons across the surface of the material. When the electrons do this it is known as the surface plasmon.

Putting it another way, the surface plasmon creates the shine that your eyes see. Or, rather, your brain translates what your eyes are actually seeing into shine.

Friendly reminder here, this is not a science blog, we like tech and gadgetry in general. For an in depth look into the science behind it we have provided links at the bottom of the page.

The possibilities with these particular materials are quite vast. We have only touched on two possible advances below, there will be many more.

High speed optical communications

As your computer or phone heats up, you will notice that it gets more sluggish the higher the temperatures go. This will continue until crashing out under exhaustion. This is due to the limits of silicon most of the time. There is very little temperature involved with the communication too, hence the increases in speed.

These materials have been recorded to be 5000 times faster than conventional silicon based superconductors.

To give you a small example. In the tests, light traveled approximately the thickness of a sheet of paper in distance before the data was transferred. That’s quick!

Invisibility cloak

The term you may wish to look up is destructive interference. This is the outcome that allows the cloaking to happen. On a very basic level, think two equal and opposite forces that cancel each other out. This is how the cloaking can theoretically work. The material is tuned to be the opposite phase of the light wave hitting it, thus cancellation. Your eyes do not see the cloak as the light that hit it has been cancelled out. 

What this material is very good at is channeling light in directions of choice with very little, to no, loss in quality. This is done whilst simultaneously keeping the temperature lower. This equates ultimately to, much faster.

All devices we regularly use could benefit from these materials in the not too distant future. Until then we can only patiently wait.

Thanks for reading. For more gadget and tech related information, check out Gadgethelpline.


Scientific American

Purdue University


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