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Mirage Cloaking

November 3, 2011

A new technique creates a “mirage effect” underwater, making objects seemingly vanish.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

An underwater vanishing act.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists have created the equivalent of Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, at least underwater.  Chemist Ray Baughman of the University of Texas at Dallas and his colleagues created an effect like a mirage on a hot road.  In that case, light bends away from the road as the temperatures near the surface get hotter and hotter.

RAY BAUGHMAN (Nanotech Institute, University of Texas at Dallas):

This is the type of cloaking that we’ve demonstrated, using carbon nanotube sheets.  And these carbon nanotube sheets are very specially suited for this type of mirage effect.

HIRSHON:

That’s because they’re ultra-thin and lightweight, but super-conductive, which means they can be heated extremely quickly in water.  When the sheet heats up, light in the surrounding water bends to make nearby objects seemingly disappear.  Now, Baughman’s team is trying to create the same effect in air, which is a trickier medium.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.