New 'Invisibility Cloak' Actually Works—Sort Of

Duke University team renders small cylinder 'invisible'

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 12, 2012 7:22 PM CST

(Newser) – Well, it's a work in progress anyway: A cloak of invisibility in development for six years has finally made an object invisible—at least from a certain angle, from passing microwaves. A team of Duke University electrical engineers used the cloak to render a half-inch cylinder "invisible" for the first time, reports the Daily Mail. But they admit it would be hard to pull off with visible light, so Harry Potter fantasies will remain far-off for now.

Still, it's an improvement from an earlier version that showed reflections around the cloak's edges. "We built the cloak, and it worked," says Nathan Landy, a grad student on the project. "It split light into two waves which traveled around an object in the center and re-emerged as the single wave with minimal loss due to reflections." It may also have practical benefits, like making the bends in fiber optics appear straighter—which would keep passing waves from losing their effectiveness.

Nathan Landy at Duke University holds up their new invisibility cloak.
Nathan Landy at Duke University holds up their new "invisibility cloak."   (Duke University)
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