Invisible Cloak for Military UAV’s, I’ll Have Some

Researchers are working to create a new design for the Harry Potter-esque invisibility  cloak, which will  conceal objects,  making them  more  difficult for adversaries to detect.

Researchers are working to create a new design for the Harry Potter-esque invisibility cloak, which will conceal objects, making them more difficult for adversaries to detect.

By Homeland Defense & Security Information Analisys Center (HDIAC) Staff

Scientists are working on creating   a new design for a technology that redefines what the public views as imaginary. Inspired  by the  well-known Invisibility Cloak from Harry  Potter, electrical  engineers at  the University of California,  San  Diego have created a  new design  for  their cloaking device,  using  a  Teflon substrate,  studded with cylinders of ceramic,  that is  thinner than any prior development and does not alter the brightness of light around concealed  objects.  The Teflon has a low refractive index, while the ceramic’s refractive index is higher,   which allows light to be dispersed through the sheet without any absorption.  Compared to an invisibility cloak, this technology has not only the ability to conceal, but the ability to increase optical communication signal speed and to collect solar energy.

The goal of this design is to create devices that make any object appear invisible by scattering the electromagnetic waves, such as light and radar, off an object making it less detectable to these wave frequencies. Metamaterial  that surrounds  the target is able  to force light  to bypass  a region   of space,  which  effectively  “cloaks” the object, making  it  isolated from incoming electromagnetic waves.

Prior developments to this technology needed many layers in order to cover an object, resulting in a very thick layer that enclosed the object. With this new, super- thin design, this technology has   the capability to better hide the three- dimensionality and shadow of an object. Additionally, this new cloaking device addresses the issue with the brightness of the space behind them. The University of California has achieved a cloak that won’t reduce any intensity when light is reflected so the concealed object will remain undetectable and will appear completely flat to an observer’s eyes.

“Invisibility may seem like magic at first, but its underlying concepts are familiar to everyone.  All it  requires is  a  clever manipulation  of  our  perception,” said Boubacar Kanté, a professor  in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering  at  the UC San Diego   Jacobs School  of Engineering  and  the senior author  of the study.  “Full invisibility still seems beyond reach today, but it might become a reality in the near future thanks to recent progress in cloaking devices.”

Having the ability to create ultimate stealth protection for anything over a battlefield or warzone provides enormous military advantage over the adversary. In theory, creating a cloaking device would be used to conceal larger objects. This cloaking device would be valuable to many technologies,   including   unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) due to the capability to disappear from view and leaving no visual, electronic or infrared signature   for an enemy to detect. Creating the effect of an   invisibility cloak   offers   a real-world solution to concealment, which can provide the military with air superiority. While this cloak has numerous applications for the military, this technology will create a ripple effect beyond the battlefield that will improve the performance of other diverse applications.

“Doing whatever we want with light waves is really exciting,” said Kanté. “Using this technology, we can do more than make things invisible.  We can change the way light waves are being reflected at will and ultimately focus   a large area of sunlight onto a solar power tower, like what a solar concentrator does. We also expect this technology to have applications in optics, interior design and art.”

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