October 5, 2011 12:52 AM EDT
Invisibility Cloak: Mirage-Like Temperature Gradient Makes Objects Vanish By IBTimes Staff Reporter
Researchers at the University of Dallas have created a device that can make itself disappear by creating its own mirage.
A mirage is a naturally occurring optical phenomenon in which bent light rays produce a displaced image of distant objects or the sky. This natural experience is mostly seen in the desert. Researchers wanted to create something similar, and they found a way in sheets of carbon nanotubes.
People walk through a mirage on a hot day at Rajpath in New Delhi.
The sheets of carbon nanotubes heat up quickly and are cab transferring heat across a surface fast. "The extremely low thermal capacitance and high heat transfer ability of these transparent forest-drawn carbon nanotube sheets enables high-frequency modulation of sheet temperature over an enormous temperature range, thereby providing a sharp, rapidly changing gradient of refractive index in the surrounding liquid or gas," said a report, published in the iopScience Web site.
The invisibility cloak, created by the Dallas University researchers, performs better underwater. It also has a nearly instant on-off switch.
Recently, researchers at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain developed an "anti-magnetic" cloak that pushes magnetic fields outward, creating a hole that allows the cloak to shield objects from magnetic fields.
Meanwhile, a student from St. Andrews University, Scotland, has developed an optical sphere that has also paved the way for creating an invisibility cloak of sorts.
Janos Perczel, 22, an undergraduate student at St. Andrews, said light could be bent around an object by slowing it down, creating an optical illusion.
Watch the video here: