Cloaking Devices: Not Just for Science Fiction
The closest many of us come to knowing about a cloaking device is the “invisibility cloak” featured in the adventures of Harry Potter. Here at Penn Engineering, real cloaking technology has been developed by Nader Engheta, the H. Nedwill Ramsey Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Professor of Bioengineering.
In combining the advances in the use of metamaterials (materials that gain their properties from their constituent structures rather than chemical composition) with the science of plasmonics (the study of electromagnetic and optical wave interaction with metals and plasmas) in a new and unique way, Engheta and his group have developed the methodologies for reducing the wave scattering from objects, rendering them effectively “invisible” at a specific wavelength. His group’s work has involved designing structures as the “cloaks” that when they are put around an object, the scattering from the object is significantly canceled by the scattering from the cloak.
If the total scattering from the object with its cloak around it is reduced significantly, the cloaked object would seem to be “invisible”. This technique can open doors to novel approaches in non-invasive probing and other exciting applications.