Scientists Make Invisibility Cloak From Silk

by Alex Lee, age 13

Do you remember when Harry Potter used the invisibility cloak to get away from trouble? Well, Tufts and Boston University scientists have created the first actual invisibility cloak. It is made of silk and gold.    

The scientists began synthesizing the cloak with a one-centimeter square piece of silk. Then they coated it with 10,000 gold resonators.   

This metamaterial is similar to absorbers and reflectors, but looks completely different. While common materials define visual properties, such as color, metamaterials define physical structures.    

Usually terahertz waves are a region of electromagnetic spectrum between radio and infrared light, but, when terahertz waves are exposed to silk, they pass right through. Silk is compatible to metamaterials. Other materials would be rejected by the human body, but not silk-based implants.    

According to scientists, these are called splint ring resonators (SSRs). SSRs can provide everyday materials with extraordinary powers. For example, materials  can absorb or reflect all specific wavelengths of light. Adding the resonators, they can also bend wavelengths around objects.  

This research will enable scientists to focus new efforts on biomedical applications. A new sensor for glucose regulation in diabetics could be the first biomedical use developed. When the level of glucose changes, it changes the silk. Invisible silk allows radiologists and doctors to wrap various organs or tissues and see through them.

This invisible cloak can do more than make people invisible, it can help make our lives better in many different ways.

[Sources: Discover; The Wall Street Journal]

Amazing what college students can accomplish! Very inspiring! – Brianna WilsonSt. Olaf College (2011-05-31 17:29)