‘Invisibility cloak’ technology may facilitate ‘electromagnetic wormhole’ generation

November 14th, 2007 - 2:09 am ICT by admin  
“Imagine wrapping Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak around a tube. If the material is designed according to our specifications, you could pass an object into one end, watch it disappear as it travelled the length of the tunnel, and then see it reappear out the other end,” says Allan Greenleaf, professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester.

Writing about the study in Physical Review Letters, Professor Allan and his collaborators said that the technology in use to date could create objects invisible only to microwave radiation, but the mathematical theory allowed for the wormhole effect for electromagnetic waves of all frequencies.

The researchers say that endoscopic surgeries, wherein the surgeon is guided by MRI imaging, are problematical because the intense magnetic fields generated by the MRI scanner affect the surgeon’s tools, and the tools can distort the MRI images.

Professor Greenleaf says that passing the tools through an EM wormhole may effectively hide them from the fields, and allow only their tips to be “visible” at work.

For creating cloaking technology, the mathematicians use theoretical mathematics to design a device to guide the electromagnetic waves in a useful way, and these blueprints may then be used to create layers of specially engineered, light-bending, composite materials called metamaterials.

David R. Smith, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke’s Pratt School, last year engineered an invisibility device as a disk that allowed microwaves to pass around it.

Professor Greenleaf says that his team has now employed more elaborate geometry to specify exactly what properties are demanded of a wormhole’s metamaterial in order to create the “invisible tunnel” effect. The mathematicians have also calculated what additional optical effects may occur if the inside of the wormhole was coated with a variety of hypothetical metamaterials.

The investigators speculate that the electromagnetic wormhole could even be used to make a three-dimensional television display, if the metamaterials making up the tube were able to bend all wavelengths of visible light.

They underpin their belief with the imagination that thousands of thin wormholes could be made to stick up out of a box. The wormholes themselves would be invisible, but their ends could transmit light carried up from below.

The mathematicians say that it would be as if thousands of pixels were simply floating in the air.

Professor Greenleaf, however, admits that it will take a long time before such a technology is launched in the market. (ANI)

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