A group of physicists creates a flexible fabric that Dodge light.
The invisible man perhaps late in coming, but his clothes seems ever closer. With the help of nanotechnology, a group of British physicists has designed a material that manages to evade the light. In addition, successfully give flexibility, which opens up the possibility of layer to layer, draw up tissue that does not reflect light.
The team of physicists from the University of St. Andrews (United Kingdom) used available for industrial use light-resistant polymer. Using a process similar to the pickling, the researchers succeeded in layers of different thickness, always level nanometric. With a later refined chemical obtained a flexible metamaterial that have called Metaflex. The metamateriales are artificial structures that are unusual in this area in its natural state characteristics.
One of them is their special interaction with light. Thus, each material reflects a particular range of wavelength, or light. Without this effect, the human eye could not see nor its shape and colour. The trick is to get that new material does not reflect the light but rays so often, retrieved his trajectory, and follow his path. Would give the impression that there there is nothing.
This effect had already achieved several metamateriales but always with no visible light (infrared and microwave). These researchers have achieved a few rich in metallic metaátomos (basic particles that make up this Metaflex) membranes do not reflect visible light that curve it. The reaction of those atoms, allowing you to observe them, occurs within the range of visible light by the human eye, causing a particular interaction with this spectrum of light. As published in the New Journal of Physics, first fulfilled objective magazine.
But had to get the material to be flexible, taking these as individual atoms that were fixed to a flexible material. Otherwise, the achievement would be in an experiment more with little practical application.
After immersing the material in a chemical solvent (metilpirrolidón), extracted layers more fine and great potential, making some barely four micrometers thick (billionth of a meter) and an area of 5 x 8 square millimeters, as flexible as you can see in the image above.
As explains the principal author of the work, Andrea di Falco, “with Metaflex we have shown that it is possible to manufacture flexible metamateriales that interact with light in a controlled manner, when others had done it with rigid materials”.
His work reminds current electronic lithography, which integrated circuits sobreimpresionan on tablets of silicon for the computer industry. According to argue in its investigation, the Mission of the Metaflex would be the serving of raw material for the manufacture of flexible three dimensions in the range of visible light metamateriales, namely in view of the human eye. In theory, assure, only it would go piling membranes an envelope another until achieving a structure above the scale nanometric. In fact, suggest at work that have already achieved, but leave your advertisement for further publication.
On the edge of technology
Scientists also recognize current nanotechnology status prevents now have Metaflex tissues. “The next step is pass a simple layer to a stack of them and prove that light can be redirected to a default design, explains Di Falco. The possible applications of this material include nanoelectronics and the superlentes. In his experiments, they apply to contact lenses.
Regarding glimpse layer of invisibility, topic proposed aim of these investigations, cinema Di Falco shows more prudent. “It is difficult to predict if you succeed, and when will we have tissues that can hide an object on the macroscopic scale.” “But we can say that we we are a small step closer”, concludes.