The Science of Invisibility


John Pendry

John Pendry tells us how manipulating Maxwell's equations using transformation optics allows us to channel and direct light as if it were a fluid, which could lead to applications that include the creation of a cloak of invisibility.

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Scientists and novelists have been intrigued for centuries by the possibility of hiding an object so completely that neither trace of the object nor of its cloak is to be found. Recent theoretical developments show that cloaking is, in principle, possible for electromagnetic waves and to a limited extent for other types of wave, such as acoustic waves. An energetic program of experimental research has shown some of the schemes to be realizable in practice.