• Germany's news in English

Scientists develop 3-D cloaking device

DDP/DPA/The Local · 20 Mar 2010, 11:35

Published: 20 Mar 2010 11:35 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Following a year-long collaboration, researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology succeeded in concealing a bump on a thin gold reflector.

The object used in the study was quite small, measuring just one thousandth of a millimetre. “Nevertheless, the results are a huge step forward,” said Martin Wegener, a nanostructure expert involved in the research.

The team’s work was published in the latest issue of leading research journal Science and was a collaboration between KIT and the Imperial College London.

Until now, experiments with cloaking technology have only worked on a two-dimensional level. Whereas previous research involved light wavelengths outside the optical range, the Karlsruhe team used infrared waves, which are closer to visible light

Wegener’s colleague Tolga Ergin said the project involved a computer-controlled laser beam to produce “3-D structures with optical properties that don’t exist in nature,” or “metamaterials.” The process included manipulating and redirecting light waves that normally reflect convex objects sideways, creating the illusion of a smooth surface.

“We can now hide a three-dimensional object by placing it under a “carpet mirror,” and making the resulting bump disappear,” said Nicolas Stenger, co-author of the study. The teams’ cloaking device causes the mirror to appear flat.

Developing the small-scale invisibility cloak was a complicated process. “The mathematical tools used for the calculations were similar to those of Einstein’s theory of relativity,” Stenger said.

Story continues below…

The new cloaking technology could one day help researchers develop metamaterials equipped to obscure larger objects, or even human beings.

“But the production would take an extremely long time,” Wegener said.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

15:48 March 20, 2010 by berlinski
I can use this next time I play poker!
18:50 March 20, 2010 by Joshontour
"The object used in the study was quite small, measuring just one thousandth of a millimeter"

How impressive... making a speck of dust invisible!!!
07:21 March 21, 2010 by ErickDDiaz
Scottie can bean me up now.
09:38 March 21, 2010 by TBurris
I wonder if the Star Trek creators predicted this when they based the Klingons on the Germans. Oh man does that sound geeky.
14:29 March 22, 2010 by hkypuck
why not wait for something a little more significant before calling the press about this "news."

BTW you too can make yourself "invisible" but you have to climb inside this goofy looking box.
15:21 March 27, 2010 by PhotosByStephan
This is wicked cool.

First, you get the therm-optic camouflage.

Then, you get the Tachikoma.
19:50 March 27, 2010 by stink
i can make the air stink, is that science too !?
Today's headlines
Munich to get 'nice toilets' to serve cross-legged locals
Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital has a pee problem - the city only has one public toilet for every 13,000 inhabitants. But a new plan could rescue desperate locals, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

German kids get glowing report for their English skills
Photo: DPA.

As if multilingual Germans don't already put many English-speakers to shame, now the younger generation is improving their English skills even more.

Berlin museum controversially recreates Hitler bunker
The reconstruction of the Hitler bunker. Photo: DPA

Sensationalized or compelling history? Berlin museums clash over new Nazi bunker exhibit

Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd