Bending light

Shanghai, 21st March 2010

We have always been told that we cannot bend light or that we cannot make things invisible. I was send an article by one of my colleagues about German scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology who have managed to create a three dimensional “invisibility cloak” that can hide objects by bending light waves! The article was published in the Journal of Science last week, so I am assuming this is a true report.

According to the article they used so called transformation optics, which uses a class of materials called meta-materials that guide and control light. It mentions photonic crystals being used to create an invisibility device. This “cloak” has special lenses that work by partially bending light waves to suppress the light scattering of the object beneath… I am quoting from the article as this is a bit beyond my area of expertise  🙂

It claims that the results are the first proof of principle that the technique works and that by bending light they can render objects invisible. Though still far away, in the future anything as large as a person or a car could be made “invisible”.

We always see light as being something to make things visible. It is an interesting concept to bend light to make things invisible and you wonder for what applications (other than creating magic) this could be used. Bending light to reach around the corner though could open interesting opportunities… It seems a lot of research is being undertaken (I quote from the article again) in the field of beam concentrators, beam shifters, super antenna’s that concentrate light from all directions into one points, etc. Maybe in the future we will call ourselves “lighting magicians” rather than lighting designers…

21. March 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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