Researchers claim that a new invisibility cloak can make certain objects undetectable even to radar.
George Eleftheriades, an electrical and computer engineering professor at the University of Toronto, along with his graduate student, Michael Selvanayagam, said that they can hide a metal cylinder from radar detection, or even make a metal cylinder appear bigger, smaller or look like plastic.
"We came up with a different way of cloaking," said Eleftheriades "We can make things invisible or we can camouflage them. Let me explain."
Eleftheriades says that to understand how cloaking works someone should first know how a radar works. The professor explains that when light hits any object it bounces back and makes the object visible to the eyes. Similarly, when radio waves hit an object it bounces back to the radar detector, which in turn reveals the object. The concept is very similar to noise-canceling feature in headphones.
In the study conducted by Eleftheriades and Selvanayagam, if an object is wrapped in a layer of tiny antennas that radiate a field away from the object, it will cancel any waves that will bounce back which makes the object undetectable to radar. The study was published in the journal Physical Review X.
The researchers said that their cloaking system works with radio waves and re-tuning it to work at other wave frequencies, including light, may implement the same principle as the necessary antenna technology matures.
"There are more applications for radio than for light," said Eleftheriades. "It's just a matter of technology -- you can use the same principle for light, and the corresponding antenna technology is a very hot area of research"
The latest research study by Eleftheriades and Selvanayagam may be used by the military. The duo also presumes that the technology will have military applications in the near term.
The researchers say that they cannot call cloaking invisibility as it works like a chameleon, adapting to objects around it, in order to hide it from plain sight. However, the duo also claim that a true invisibility cloak is not far away.
It seems that the research is not receiving enough funding as Eleftheriades claims that the only thing holding them back is money.