Scientists Near Invisibility Cloak for Sound

Special material makes acoustic waves take a detour
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2008 12:30 PM CST
If "acoustic cloaks" are created, one possible application could be to make submarines completely inaudible.(AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Chief Journalist Kevin Elliott)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Researchers are making progress on something that sounds right out of the pages of Harry Potter—a sort of invisibility cloak for sound. A team of scientists in Spain is trying to turn theory into reality by creating a cloak that causes sound waves to slip around an object, the Daily Telegraph reports. Possible uses: shielding submarines from sonar, improving concert hall acoustics, or simply stopping the racket from noisy neighbors.

"We've devised a recipe for an acoustic material that would essentially open up a hole in space and make something inside that hole disappear from sound waves," scientists wrote in Physical Review Letters. The Spanish team is building on that discovery to actually create the material. The research follows a similar discovery about light waves.