We can see objects because light bounces off them. A research team claims to have found a way to let light pass directly through objects: the secret of invisibility.
Invisibility is no longer science fiction. Researchers have developed a unique light wave that, when irradiated through an object, makes the object appear invisible to cameras and even the human eye.
If you think invisibility cloaks are only for wizards, think again: scientists have been trying to solve this challenge for a long time. Some technological solutions for a kind of invisibility have already been developed. For example, using shooting and projection techniques you can capture the image of what is behind an object, then project it onto its surface, making it seemingly disappear.
But the research also works on a more precise invisibility. A way to bend light around an object making it practically vanish from sight.
In 2019, Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corporation revealed a material, called Quantum Stealth, which when put on a person hides them. I talked about it in this post.However, the effectiveness of the material is limited as the effect depends on the angle from which it is viewed and the hidden subject must be positioned at a specific distance.
The breakthrough from an Austrian and Dutch research
There is still to be done before we have Harry Potter-style invisibility, but the researchers of the Vienna University of Technology Austrian andUtrecht University in the Netherlands they are one step away from the solution.
How the latest invisibility technology works
We can see objects because light reflects off their surfaces and the photoreceptors of the human eye. The team involved in this study found a unique light wave that, when it passes through a solid object, projects itself onto the surface of an object BEHIND it. So we see the background object, which essentially makes the foreground object invisible.
Each of these light wave patterns is modified and deflected in a very specific way when sent through a messy mediumStefan Rotter of the TU Wien in the press release he presents invisibility technology
How the “magic” wave of invisibility was born
To find this special light wave, the team radiated light onto an opaque layer of randomly arranged zinc oxide nanoparticles. The scientists then observed how the light was scattered by the zinc oxide dust and how it would have scattered had the dust not been there at all.
In a work published on Nature photonics , they found that the light waves projected the same image onto a detector on the other side of the zinc oxide dust - as if the dust wasn't even there.
The special light waves appear to defy the laws of light reflection. The tailored light beam was not modified by the object it passed through, but only slightly attenuated, resulting in near perfect invisibility.
Because it is important
the team predicts the discovery could be used for medical imaging or biomedical research. There are still challenges to overcome: Currently, the movement within biological systems, such as the bloodstream, is too great for the special beam of light to work. For now, the team hopes scientists can use the technology to observe tiny, hard-to-study objects, such as a biological cell.