Researchers have made an object disappear by using a composite material with nano-size particles that can enhance specific properties of the object’s surface. A detailed study was published on Friday by the team from the Queen Mary University of London.

The team was able to demonstrate the possibility of such material for the first time by allowing curved surfaces to appear flat to electromagnetic waves, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

Credit: IFL Science

The device was designed analytically and validated through numerical simulations and measurements, which showed a good agreement and performance as an effective surface cloak, the team commented.

“The design is based on transformation optics, a concept behind the idea of the invisibility cloak,” said co-author Professor Yang Hao from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.

“Previous research has shown this technique working at one frequency. However, we can demonstrate that it works at a greater range of frequencies making it more useful for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the aerospace industry.”

Although this does not mean that it would be viable on a greater scale, the practical demonstration could result in a new approach for the necessity as the team introduced a new fundamental key.

For the paper, researchers coated a curved surface with a nanocomposite medium, which had seven distinct laws where the electric property of each layer varied depending on its exact position. The effect aimed to “cloak” the object, due to such a structure can hide what would usually appear in a scan.

Its underlying designed make possible to be relevant for a much wider application in different areas, which span from microwave to optics for the control of surface plasmon polaritons and radiation of nanoantennas, the team concluded in the paper.

Industrial solutions

According to the journal first author, Dr. Luigi La Spada, also from the same university as the others, the study, and manipulation of surface waves in the key to developing technological and industrial solutions in the design of real-life platforms, for different application fields.

We demonstrated a practical possibility to use nanocomposites to control surface wave propagation through advanced additive manufacturing; La Spada told while discussing the importance of the results.

Perhaps the most point of view is that the approach used can be applied to other physical phenomena that are described by wave equations, such as acoustics, he said. For that reason, the team believes that the work has a high industrial impact, La Spada added.

Source: Nature