How many of you dreamt of being a Science Fiction hero with a sleek ship or high-tech vehicle and get to say “Activate the cloaking device” at some point or another? Quite a few, I’d bet.
Now, thanks to researcher Amanda D. Hanford from the Pennsylvania State University, we are getting closer to working with such a device.
How is it possible?
Hanford and her team engineered a metamaterial that can route sound waves around an object, rendering it invisible to some sensing techniques.
Metamaterials exhibit properties not found in nature and in order for them to work, the unit cell – the smallest component of the metamaterial, that is – has to be smaller than the acoustic wavelength.
So far, these acoustic metamaterials have only been designed to deflect soundwaves in air.
“These materials sound like a totally abstract concept, but the math is showing us that these properties are possible,” Hanford explained in the report. “So, we are working to open the floodgates to see what we can create with these materials.”
Their results have so far been satisfactory and will hopefully contribute to real-world applications such as materials that can diminish sound and appear invisible to instruments like sonars.
Until then, hold your spaceships steady!