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Researchers developing Harry Potter invisibility cloak

The Polyjuice Potion has yet to be perfected and science can’t seem to figure out flying on a broomstick, but, finally, Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak is one step closer to reality.

WB Harry Potter invisibility cloak

Yes, you read that correctly Harry Potter fans: Researchers at the University of Texas claim to have created an invisibility cloak, similar to the one that saved Harry, Ron and Hermione countless times in the world-renowned seven-book saga.

In their study, published in the March 26 issue of the New Journal of Physics, researchers describe their ultra-thin cloak made of a material called metascreen, which consists of copper strips attached to flexible polycarbonate film. The cloak makes 3D objects invisible from any direction.

What’s the catch? As of now, it only works in microwave light.

The scientist’s cloak, dubbed a “mantle cloak” (we still like “invisibility cloak” better), successfully concealed an 18 cm cylindrical rod in microwave light.

That sounds great, you say, but when can I use it in the real world?

Although the mantle cloak doesn’t work in visible light yet, Professor Andrea Alu, one of the study’s authors, says there’s hope.

“In principle this technique could also be used to cloak light,” Alu said.

To create the cloak, these researchers took a different tactic than previous attempts, which tried to bend light rays around objects so the rays don’t scatter or reflect off the object. Instead, this cloak uses a technique called mantle cloaking to cancel out light waves that bounce off the object.

“When the scattered fields from the cloak and the object interfere, they cancel each other out and the overall effect is transparency and invisibility at all angles of observation,” Alu said.

Scientists have made objects invisible before, but previous methods have all involved bulky devices and cumbrous methods, unlike this 0.15 mm cloak.

Researchers say that if the mantle cloak works in visible light in the future, it could have practical uses, such as in noninvasive sensing devices or biomedical instruments.

But until then, Harry Potter enthusiasts will have to remain content with chocolate frogs that don’t jump, human-manufactured Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans and Quidditch tournaments on the ground.

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