For those of you wow-ed by the invisibility properties of metamaterials, read this. Yet another University is figuring out how to make them not just hide the truth, but a whole lot more:
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going, going gone
If you’re a mathematician, here’s your proof:
ScienceDaily (Dec. 26, 2006) — The theorists who first created the mathematics that describe the behavior of the recently announced “invisibility cloak” have revealed a new analysis that may extend the current cloak’s powers, enabling it to hide even actively radiating objects like a flashlight or cell phone.
Allan Greenleaf, professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester, working with colleagues around the globe, has announced a mathematical theory that predicts some strange goings on inside the cloak—and that what happens inside is crucial to the cloak’s effectiveness.
In October, David R. Smith, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University, led a team that used a circular cloaking device to successfully bend microwaves around a copper disk as if the disk were invisible. In 2003, however, Greenleaf and his colleagues had already developed the mathematics of invisibility.
“We were working on improving the mathematics behind tumor detection,” says Greenleaf. “In the final section to one paper, we spelled out a worst-case scenario where a tumor could be undetectable. We then wrote a couple of additional articles describing when this could happen. At the time, we didn’t think further about it because it seemed extremely unlikely that any tumor would be covered with the necessary material to be hidden that way.”
This past summer, however, Greenleaf and his colleagues learned about a paper that researchers at Duke and Imperial College had published in the journal Science, which used nearly identical equations to give a theoretical proposal for a cloaking device. Once Greenleaf and his colleagues saw that their results could also be used to show how to “hide” an object, they decided to analyze and improve the proposed cloaking device, using the techniques they had developed in their earlier work. They knew that a crucial question would be: What was going on inside the cloaked region?