Sshhhhhhh.. koi hai?


We are aware of the science behind seeing an object with our eyes. What is it about invisibility that is so baffling to us? It has been a concept that many writers have used in their novels to captivate the readers, but Scientists from Scotland have claimed that making objects that can ‘hide’ anything are possible. The basic principle behind the human eye ‘seeing’ an object is ‘reflection’. Light rays hitting the object bounce back to our eyes enabling us a clear vision of that object/person. New materials are required to make things like ‘invisibility cloaks’ as in the Harry Potter series that would hide objects/people. These materials are called Metamaterials or Exomaterials. These materials bounce the light falling on them in different directions away from the human eye enabling invisibility.

HP with body gone under IC
Invisibility achieved in movies

It is analogous to a huge rock in the center of a swift flowing river where the water follows the path of the curvature of the rock when it encounters it. The metamaterials, which are man-made materials, get their properties from the structure of the material from which they have been engineered. These metamaterials have a negative refractive index. Refractive Index is the measure of the speed of light when it travels in a medium different from free space/vacuum. The metamaterials have lot of applications in aerospace field, sensors, battle-field communication etc and involves research in many fields of engineering such as electrical, material science, nanoscience and solid state physics. All in all, research in this field is exciting and one must look forward to more developments that might make an ‘invisible’ future a reality.

 

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