Carbon Nanotube-Based Invisibility Cloak Selected as One of Time Magazine's 2011 Best Inventions

Time Magazine has selected a program co-financed by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) for its 2011 List of Best Inventions.

The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) research team comprising Ray Baughman, Yuri Gartstein and Ali Aliev has successfully developed an innovative device known as an ‘'invisibility cloak,' which is technically termed as "mirage effect from thermally modulated transparent carbon nanotube sheets".

This technology was successfully developed mainly due to carbon nanotubes and is an outcome of another ongoing UTD program funded by AFOSR. These innovative materials are capable of vanishing when heated rapidly. The fact behind this disappearance is a mirage effect or photothermal deflection caused by the bending of light. When heated, the nanomaterial produces the same mirage effect experienced by a passerby while travelling through a highway wherein the surface of the road is hot. The passerby actually sees the reflection of sky on the road that resembles a pool of water due to light bending around the road surface.

The funding offered by AFOSR was important in the fabrication of carbon nanotube sheets that provide important properties needed for photothermal deflection, which is critical for the occurrence of this transparency effect. These special properties of carbon nanotube sheets may find use in the development of sonar, thermoacoustic projectors, switchable transparency materials and photo-deflectors.

Source: http://www.wpafb.af.mil/afrl/afosr

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