Scientists Closer to 'Invisible' Cloak
Japan mask 7-inch object from light in microwave spectrum
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2012 2:27 PM CST
We're a long way from being able to make something of this size invisible, sadly.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Scientists have made a leap forward in invisibility technology, successfully testing a material that can fully mask an object from light from all angles, the AFP reports. Sound amazing? Well don't get too excited, because the only light the material masks is on the microwave spectrum—which isn't visible to humans anyway. But the test, in which a 7.2-inch cylinder was fully masked from microwaves, is still a breakthrough, because it proves that so-called plasmonic meta-materials work.

Plasmonic meta-materials are a mesh of metal and non-conductive synthetics, built out of nanometer-sized structures that are actually smaller than light wavelengths, making light scatter when it hits them, explains AFP. The same technique could work on the visible spectrum, but only for incredibly small objects—think micrometers. Still, masking from microwaves is pretty useful on its own; the materials could be used to build "super-stealth" planes invisible to all radar microwaves.