Washington, June 7 : A mathematician at the University of Utah has revealed that experts trying to realise a superlens cloak in laboratories, based on his mathematical model, have achieved some surprising and exciting results.
Graeme Milton admits that scientists are still very far off from inventing a workable device based on the concept of superlense cloak, but insists that lots and lots of efforts are being invested to achieve the ability to hide an object in the same way the cloaking devices in 'Star Trek' and 'Harry Potter' films did. We're a long way off from the Star Trek device but some of the experimental results achieved so far are surprising and exciting," Live Science quoted him as saying.
The superlens he theorised with his colleagues Nicolae Nicorovici and Ross McPhedran cloaks a nearby object by making light behave in an unusual way.
Rather than having a positive refractive index that makes light bend in the same way as it does when passing from air into a medium like glass or water, it has a negative refractive index that in essence causes light to reverse and travel backwards.
The light reflecting off the superlens cancels out the light bouncing off any object placed next to it, and thereby renders the object invisible.
According to Milton, this phenomenon is somewhat similar to the noise cancellation headphones that are worn by passengers on aeroplanes.
"At this point, experiments would be considered successful if they worked with a single frequency of light and cloaked a few specks of dust, and the object cloaked would need to be much smaller than the superlens," he said.
He has also revealed that a research team is presently trying to demonstrate the proof of principle.
"They've made some progress, but they want to do some more work before they put their results in a paper," he added.
Scientists believe that such a cloaking device may find application in stealth military devices, and medicine where the concept would allow certain electronic instruments to be used despite the presence of strong electromagnetic fields.
Milton says that he and other researchers have also carried out related work that might prove capable of guiding the elastic shock waves of earthquakes around buildings.