Now you see me, now you don't. Who hasn't thought about invisibility? It was always something that we thought of as impossible but thanks to scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas, it is possible!
The scientists used sheets of carbon nanotubes to bend light and create their invisible "cloak". Check it out below!
So how is light bent to create invisibility? A big temperature change is needed to bend the light rays so they are sent towards our eye rather than bouncing off the surface. The carbom nanocarbons conduct heat quickly and have the density of air and the strength of steal, making them very ideal for the study. When the carbon nanotubes are heated, the heat is transfered to the surroudingg air which causes the light rays to bend and create the invisible mirage. As one of the scientists explains it "occurs because the air near the ground is a lot warmer than the air higher up causing light rays to bend upward towards the viewer's eye rather than bounce of the surface."
This technology is also being used for more practical things. For example, military tanks! A global defense company, BAE systems has created a way to make military tanks completely invisible on infrared cameras. BAE uses a system called ADAPTIV that places hexagonal plates that change temperature on the tanks. These plates help match the temperature of the tank to the temperature of the air surrounding it, thus making the tank appear invisible. What is even more impressive is that the tanks can even be disguised the thermal cameras and appear as a small car or an animal! Check out a video of the invisible tanks here.
The ability to make things invisible could potentially become mainstream. The lead scientist of the study with the "cloak" of carbon nanotubes Dr. Ali Aliev said that they still need to find "a way to protect the carbon nanotube sheet. Since any air or water flow can easily destroy the suspended film." But he also believes he can fix this problem before the end of this decade, which would be a step in making invisibly mainstream. As for the tanks, the military and ADAPTIV are actively working and before we know it, we may live in a world where our military has the ability to be invisible and sneak up on the enemy and everyone is sporting an invisible cloak.
Is there anything science can't do?