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China and the development of an invisibility cloak: More science than magic

China is advancing the development of invisibility technology, driven by science and with potential for military applications.

Jeickson Sulbaran

November 28, 2023 | 7:00 pm

In a development straight out of a science fiction novel, scientists in China are working on technology that could make invisibility a reality. At a recent scientific event in Shanghai, Chu Junhao, a renowned physicist from Donghua University, presented a material that can make what lies behind it invisible to the human eye. This advance, although it evokes the invisibility cloak of Harry Potter, is firmly rooted in advanced materials science and technology.

Chu and his team demonstrated the invisibility effect using a sheet with a lenticular grating composed of rows of small convex cylindrical lenses. "Each vertical lens can shrink and thin objects parallel to it, so that light can refract," Chu explained, resulting in an invisibility effect. This technology, beyond its magical appeal, represents a significant leap in the field of optics and materials physics.

The path to invisibility and its potential applications

Interest in invisibility is not new and has been an area of ​​research in both China and the United States for years. Companies like Hyperstealth Biotechnology in Canada have already filed patents for materials that could theoretically be used to create invisibility cloaks. Although these advances are amazing, their practical application for end users remains a challenge.

Research in invisibility has found fertile ground in the military sector, where the technology can be used to make fighter aircraft undetectable to radars or military ground vehicles. Advances in this area could have significant implications for military strategy and tactics in the future.

Chu Junhao and his vision of the future of invisibility

Chu Junhao, with his mix of humor and scientific seriousness, jokes about the possibility of "everyone having Harry Potter's invisibility cloak in their closet" in the future. Although this may sound like science fiction, progress in materials technology could, in theory, make a wide range of applications of invisibility possible in everyday life.

This development in China is not only a milestone in physics and materials engineering, but also an example of how advanced research can push the boundaries of what we consider possible. Stealth technology, with its many potential applications, is a field that will continue to fascinate and challenge scientists and dreamers alike.

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