Invisibility cloak no longer made with magic

Invisibility cloak no longer made with magic

Photo credit/ Connor Moffitt

Jessica Bonacci, Assistant Opinion Editor

Science fiction is one step closer to becoming science fact.

An invisibility cloak has been developed by lab researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy Berkeley Lab and the University of California Berkeley. Although it seems like pure sorcery, there is a complex science behind the cloak that involves manipulating the way light interacts with three-dimensional objects.

A Berkeley Lab news release explained that the cloak, constructed from “brick-like blocks of gold nanoantennas… was meta-engineered to reroute reflected light waves so that the object was rendered invisible to optical detection when the cloak is activated.”

The cloak so far has only been developed at a microscopic level, as measurements by researchers have labeled it only 80 nanometers in thickness. According to Xiang Zhang, director of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, “It is easy to design and implement, and is potentially scalable for hiding macroscopic objects.”

Previous invisibility devices relied on a set of lenses to create an illusion. This new model, however, can wrap around the object it is cloaking and render it invisible to the naked eye.

Even though it is small, it is very powerful.

The downside to this design is the cost. Innovation comes with a large price tag, which is what has prevented the creation of a large-scale cloak. Also, the cloak only works on a still object, as reported by the Washington Post. If one was to move while wrapped in the cloak, the illusion of invisibility would be lost.

There may be a few technical issues that need to be worked out, but I think the idea of having an actual, non-fictional invisibility cloak is so cool. If they were able to be bought by the public, I would be first in line.

Once scientists figure out a more cost-effective way to produce it in large-scale, the invisibility cloak could be a great advantage for the United States.

It may give the military a strategic advantage. Doctors may also be able to use it to see through their hands for complex medical procedures. The cloak might be advantageous in museums and galleries in that it would be able to hide precious artifacts.

Nonetheless, this breakthrough is an astounding feat for both the scientific community and the world. It proves that in the age of technological advancement, we are not just moving forward. We are advancing at an incredible pace and accomplishing tasks that were once thought to be whimsical ideas out of our imaginations.

Who knows? One day every household may have an invisibility cloak hanging in its closet.

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