J.K. Rowling has managed to capture the imaginations of millions around the world, enriching their lives through the means of sensational storytelling and her one of a kind imagination. And while so many things from her series of book have been brought to life via the wonders of science, many still haven’t and might never see the light of day.
Even though Harry Potter fans have been waiting for a while for scientists to finally get around to inventing a fully functional invisibility cloak, it sadly looks like they will have to walk away from this one. According to a team of researchers from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, invisibility cloaks would make you the Predator, not Harry Potter.
Published in the paper “Physical Review A”, the paper from the German team explains how even though invisibility cloaks can totally be created, they wouldn’t work like the ones in Harry Potter, completely shrouding the wearer. Instead, they would work more like the Predator’s cloaking system, allowing outside observers to see a distortion in their surroundings while the wearer is moving.
According to the team of scientists behind the study,
Only an invisibility device that perfectly cloaks both the amplitude and the phase of light in its own inertial frame will also (perfectly) cloak this light in any other inertial frame. The same conclusion lends itself to invisible objects that are not cloaks, such as the invisible sphere.
Because the light can’t pass directly through the cloak, or even around it, and because the cloak itself would shift while moving, a fully concealing invisibility cloak as in the Harry Potter universe would be very much impossible.
Real invisibility cloaks will have to stay in the realm of fiction. Your cloak, if it is to be pragmatically broadband, will pretty much look like that of Predator, giving away what it hides via distortions when you move relative to it.
A cloak that would actually work would function on a wholly different principle. What would work would be a sort of “amplitude cloak”. It would work by not focusing at all on information related to the light in the environment, instead creating a very intricately detailed rendering of the environment. It would still be visible if observed, somewhat like the Predator when turned invisible.
Still, with the rate at which we’re making advances in science, it’s likely that the device will be rehashed in a few years, as soon as new technologies that would help make it a reality are developed.
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