They develop material that makes the phenomenon of invisibility possible

Isbel Lázaro.


Inspenet, December 1, 2023.

A revolutionary breakthrough was introduced by 78-year-old academician Chu Junhao, who holds the position of professor at the Faculty of Science of Donghua University in Shanghai, China. This innovative creation, which is compared to a kind of invisibility cloak, according to Junhao, promises to become a common garment in many wardrobes, inspired by the style of Harry Potter.

These revelations were made during The Great Scientific Evening organized by Bilibili, a video platform analogous to YouTube.

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Although this artifact could easily seem taken from the pages of the aforementioned saga, it is the result of meticulous scientific research carried out by Junhao and his team.

The concept of making an object invisible using a special material capable of refracting light around it was proposed approximately a decade ago. Since then, both essential and technological challenges had acted as obstacles to its realization.

Metamaterials: the secret behind invisibility

Junhao’s strategy is based on the application of metamaterials, laboratory-manufactured structures capable of changing their physical properties in reaction to electrical currents. The ability to become invisible is achieved through the implementation of lenticular patterns or grids, formed by transparent sheets with tiny convex cylindrical lenses. When light passes through this compound, a refraction is generated that eliminates the image from the field of vision.

This material, through an arrangement of lenses, condenses light into narrow strips, and by increasing the number of lenses sufficiently, the effect of invisibility is achieved. At this moment, the image fragments into millions of identical particles, becoming indistinguishable to the human eye.

This innovation is not unknown in the Asian country, since metamaterial substances have been implemented in the covering of numerous Chinese war aircraft. These advances were conceived in laboratories such as the one in the city of Nanjing, under the supervision of researcher Cui Tiejun. Cui claims to have developed a spectral illusion mechanism capable of preventing an aircraft from emitting signals on a military radar system. He is recognized as a pioneer in the creation of the world’s first programmable metamaterials, capable of modifying their physical properties in response to electrical currents.

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Source and photo: The energy newspaper

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