One of the most touted and sought after human desires since the beginning of recorded history has been the possibility of become invisible. And now with technology making leaps and bounds in the area, invisibility is coming closer and closer to a complete reality.
What is being called a “broadband” invisibility cloak is one of the first items of its particular nature to conceal objects at specific frequencies, and also at specific wavelengths. Complete invisibility at least with the current technology that science has nailed down, remains out of the range of possibility. Meaning that although what has been developed can allow invisibility when certain parameters are met, it does provide what is currently deemed to be supernatural transparency at every angle and every frequency.
The current technology operates by a super conducting film that resonates electrically thus blocking visibility in certain areas of the visible spectrum. Alteration of the visibility in the spectrum is made possible with something referred to as metamaterials, which currently have unknown physical properties to be studied. In other words, scientists know how to apply them to a process, but they are not completely positive of every reaction and result from said application. Simply put, the metamaterials manipulate radiation in order to block perception of an object. However, if the radiation is manipulated improperly the object can become even more visible than its original state, accomplishing precisely the opposite of what would be the intention of an invisibility cloak.
The practical applications of the all the scientific studies regarding invisibility seem to be most commonly associated with weapons and international defense. This certainly presents a double edged sword for the idea itself, whereas will invisibility be a deterrent for war and battles or will it be a further justification of infiltration based on the loss mitigation from being cloaked and hopefully undiscovered. As a deterrent, hypothetically speaking, if an entire missile base could be concealed from top to bottom, not just enclosed in an underground hideaway, the tactical advantages could be limitless; especially considering how quickly and efficiently missiles could be launched that are already in position.
In terms of loss mitigation, if a general was to consider the safety and possible casualties associated with a mission based upon the ability to send a stealth tank for example in ahead of other possible battalions. It could not prove useful in terms of recon, but also avoid conflict altogether in a best case scenario in which the opposition had no idea at all that someone was even in view of their operation.
This military details and possibilities may still be a long way off considering the cloak only works with very specific wavelengths and frequencies rendering invisibility possible on small parts of the spectrum. It the opposition were to build detectors of some sort forcing the wavelengths and frequencies into the visible spectrum the invisibility would be null obviously and not advantageous. At this point, it is known that invisibility does not function in the magical way of most movie portrayals, but there is more magic in wavelengths and frequencies than the average person realizes.
Written by Michael Blain