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Scientists develop ‘invisibility cloak’

Always wanted to own Harry Potter's invisibility cloak? Good news for you! Spanish researchers have designed a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external...

india Updated: Sep 23, 2011 14:52 IST

Spanish researchers believe they have designed a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external magnetic fields, while at the same time preventing any magnetic internal fields from leaking outside, making the cloak undetectable.

The development of such a device, described as an ‘antimagnet’, could offer many beneficial applications, such as protecting a ship’s hull from mines designed to detonate when a magnetic field is detected, or allowing patients with pacemakers or cochlear implants to use medical equipment.

The researchers, from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, have proved that such a cloak could be built using practical and available materials and technologies, and can be used to develop an array of applications.

Though the researchers are aware that the technology could also be used by criminals to dodge security systems, they are confident that it could benefit society in a positive way, as it could minimize risks by informing security officials about potential devices, enabling them to anticipate and neutralize problems.

“The ideas of this device and their potential applications are far-reaching; however it is conceivable that they could be used for reducing the magnetic signature of forbidden objects, with the consequent threat to security,” said lead author, Professor Alvar Sanchez.

“For these reasons, this research could be taken into account by security officials in order to design safer detection systems and protocols,” he stated.

The discovery has been published in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics.