Invisibility has long been a feature employed in works of science fiction and fantasy, from H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man to ‘cloaking devices’ on spaceships in the various Star Trek series and the Harry Potter collection. The dream of invisibility may soon become a reality, however, with the revelation that physicists believe they can actually make devices with just these properties. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a new method of building materials using light, what are known as metamaterials, which bend electromagnetic radiation around an object, refracting it in the ‘wrong’ way and potentially making objects seem invisible, or making them appear as something else. The key to ‘invisibility’ lies in the way light interacts with a material, whether it is either reflected or absorbed, enabling us to see that object. Nanoscale engineering, however, can produce metamaterials which control how light interacts with them. Stirring news for Physics and Engineering applicants but make sure you read more information on the range of potential applications for metamaterials to avoid being left feeling invisible come interview time.
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