Watch 'Mirage Effect' Work As Invisibility Cloak
We've covered a lot of stories about invisibility cloaking. This is the technology that involves making objects invisible, like the way Star Trek's Romulan people cloak their ships or Harry Potter's cape gives him the power of invisibility. But most of the cloaking technology research out there is theoretical, like the science being developed by this group of physicists, who propose that a superconductor could make an "anti-magnet" that makes objects invisible. Or the technology is possible in a wavelength of light that the human eye can't see, such as the research on this metamaterial, which can make objects invisible in the terahertz wavelength.
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But a team from the University of Texas at Dallas have created an invisibility cloak in visible light, and we can see it — watch the remarkable video below. They electrically stimulated a sheet of carbon nanotubes, which caused the nanotubes to heat up quickly to a high temperature. The steep temperature gradient that resulted between the sheet and its surrounding area caused visible light rays to bend in the same way that light bends just above a very hot road in the desert. You've probably seen this optical illusion before when the light from the sky gets redirected over the surface of the hot road, making it look watery. The mirage tends to hide features behind it. In this case, the researchers noticed that the device worked best underwater. Take a look: