Invisibility Cloak Strands Developed by Texas Scientist
Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak is one step closer to becoming a reality as a University of Texas Dallas scientist showcases the first threads of a carbon substance that renders objects invisible. According to The Lookout, Ali Aliev discovered that rapidly heating up carbon nanotubes makes objects below them seem to disappear.
“We really can hide objects,” the physicist told MSNBC. “We can switch for a short moment and make it disappear.”
Aliev described the technology as employing the “mirage effect.” In a paper about the nanotubes published in the Nanotechnology journal in June, Aliev compared the effect of his “invisibility cloak” to the how heat makes circles look like puddles of water on a highway. The road becomes so hot that the surface bends the light around it, causing the viewer to see reflected sky instead of pavement, Aliev explains. The carbon nanotubes work the same way.
So far, Aliev has only been able to construct a few threads himself, but other scientists around the world are also working to develop the technology. In the United Kingdom, for example, scientists are working to apply the technology to military advantage; creating temperature-controlled plates that attach to tanks would make the tanks disappear when viewed through night-vision goggles.
Both technologies are years away from being available on the market, most experts agree. But to Aliev, the most exciting thing is the sheer possibility.
“It’s interesting for ordinary people because usually [scientists] show something microsized under some microscope…but here, in real time, real objects [are] disappearing,” he said.