Invisibility: a possible reality?

The invisible man. The third deathly hallow. Invisibility spells, charms and hexes… Hell, just watching the devilish grin on your favorite game character’s face as he becomes unseen, stalking his prey sends shivers up any sci-fi fantasy fanatic’s spine. Invisibility is something the entire world looks forward to with deadly anticipation and rapt attention. So here’s the dope on the invisibility cloak.
It all started back in 2006 when a cloak was produced that routed microwaves of a particular frequency around a copper cylinder in a way that made them emerge almost as if there were nothing there. The cloak was made from meta materials, leaving nothing but a small shadow. At the time developing a cloak that would render an object invisible over THE ENTIRE RANGE OF VISIBLE LIGHT seemed a daunting task.


Yet recently a group of researchers connected with Berkeley Lab and the University of California, Berkeley presented a solution to cloaking issues using dielectrics. These non-conducting materials (dielectrics) are used for a carpet cloak, which serves as an optical cloaking device.
A newer development, right in 2011 is effective in visible light and hides macroscopic objects, i.e. objects that can be seen with the human eye. The cloak is constructed from ordinary, and easily obtainable calcite, and requires no nano fabrication, which means it doesn’t have to be built atom by atom, to nano sizes and further on to macro sizes. This is possible because calcite shows an interesting quality of having a refractive index that depends on the polarization and propagation direction of light.
Other, similar methods such as the one using dielectrics uses the principle of bending of light, where light rays that meet the object bend around it without even a trace of reflection. This would leave a simple blur where the object was supposed to be.
So what does this mean? That its impossible to create a cloak? Or that it might be ready tomorrow? Well we’ll just have to wait and see . Even though it would be one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of the century, maybe at par with the nature of the Higgs boson and augmentation, what humanity will choose to do with it remains a disturbing question.

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