Scientists Work to Develop Larger Pieces of 3D Metamaterial (UCF Photo)
Scientists Work to Develop Larger Pieces of 3D Metamaterial (UCF Photo)UCF

Researchers from across the world, including Indian scientists, have made a breakthrough in the area of invisibility cloaks by finding out how to print larger pieces of 3D metamaterial.

As of now, by employing nanotechnology, scientists have been able to create artificial nanostructures called "metamaterials" that are capable of bending and controlling lights, in order to make it invisible to the naked eye.

Debashis Chanda at the University of Central Florida (UCF), along with his fellow researchers, has developed a multilayer 3D metamaterial functioning in the visible spectral range. But the difficulty in creating enough of this special material prevents the team from making a real invisibility cloak, like the one in the "Harry Potter" films.

The artificial nanostructures are measured in microns, which is less than a single millimeter.

"Such large-area fabrication of metamaterials following a simple printing technique will enable realisation of novel devices based on engineered optical responses at the nanoscale," said Chanda, assistant professor at UCF and the lead in the research.

They reached this achievement by means of nanotransfer printing that can possibly be engineered to alter the surrounding refractive index, required to control the propagation of light.

The nanotransfer printing technique develops dielectric/metal composite films, which are mounted together in a 3D architecture with nanoscale patterns for operation in the visible spectral range. Electromagnetic resonances control over the 3D space by structural manipulation allows precise control over the propagation of light. 

With the improvement of this technique, researchers believe that it may develop larger pieces of metamaterial that are capable of absorbing light and could be used by fighter planes to remain invisible from detection systems.

The team of researchers from UCF, the University of Illinois, Sandia National Laboratories, Photronics Inc. contributed to the project. The details of the study have been published in the Advanced Optical Materials journal.