POSTED: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 10:51am
UPDATED: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 3:12pm
DALLAS- It no longer belongs to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: A scientist at the University of Texas at Dallas has created his own invisibility cloak.
"We really can hide objects. We can switch for a short moment and make it disappear," said Ali Aliev, a physicist at University of Texas at Dallas.
His "cloak" right now is small, several strands of what look like thread. But sure enough, in a video of his experiment, you see the strands one second but, in the next, they disappear. The threadlike material is actually carbon nanotubes.
Aliev discovered that the material becomes so hot when heated up that it can literally bend light around an object, making it look as if it has disappeared. Right now, the technology is limited to Aliev's lab, but in time the material could easily hide large objects, such as military tankers.
Scientists in the United Kingdom are working on similar technology. There, inventors have created plates that can stick to an object such as a tanker. The plates can heat up or cool down very quickly, matching the temperature outside. Then, when that object appears on enemy radar, it looks as if it has disappeared. Experts said both technologies are years away from being on the market.
Still, what once seemed like science fiction could now be science fact.
"So it's interesting for ordinary people, because usually scientists show something micro-sized under some microscope, but here, in real time, real objects were disappearing," Aliev said.