You may never be able to fly on a broomstick or cast a spell on your sworn enemy, but thanks to a team of talented scientists, using an invisibility cloak may be a real possibility in the near future.
Researchers from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory successfully created a unique material that can wrap around small objects to render them invisible.
Created from gold nanoantenna blocks, the super-thin, stretchy material works by interfering with the bending and refracting of light waves off an object.
By redirecting light waves away from the object underneath it, the material effectively makes it so our brains cannot pick up on the object's presence. To our eyes, it simply appears as though the object disappeared.
The material's cloaking abilities proved successful in the lab, but it was only tested at microscopic levels.
Lead researcher Dr. Xiang Zhang reportedly explained,
Our ultra-thin cloak now looks like a coat. It is easy to design and implement, and is potentially scalable for hiding macroscopic objects.
But even technology this advanced has its limitations.
According to the researchers, the cloak only works if the cloaked object stays stationary; any movement breaks the illusion.
And so far, the technology only worked with a limited range of light waves, meaning non-compatible lighting scenarios may leave the object visible.
That said, this revolutionary breakthrough is only the beginning, and researchers will continue to experiment with the new technology as they learn more about how it works.
Who knows? Maybe one day, we'll all have personal invisibility cloaks to shield us from the world when we can't (or don't want to) deal.
Hey, a girl can dream, right?