Invisible rug design for making a controlled mirage

Jensen Li and John Pendry of Imperial College London have come up with a theory for how to create a carpet that would cause anything swept under it to seem to disappear.

This is a different approach to the approximate invisibility work.

Regular silica and silicon can be used to make such a carpet.

According to them, the carpet would work across the spectrum of visible light, something no other cloaking scheme has yet been able to achieve. Most modern schemes are based on “metamaterials”, materials possessing carefully crafted internal structures that can alter the path of light. Pendry says that his idea, though seems complex, is actually fairly simple.

The researcher says that the material can bend light by different amounts at different points, much as a heated column of air can cause the horizon to shimmer.

“It’s basically just an attempt to make a controlled mirage,” Nature magazine quoted him as saying.

The researchers said that a carpet based on their idea would actually look highly reflective, much like a mirror. That would make the carpet, as well as anyone hiding under it, pretty conspicuous unless it was laid down on a mirrored surface.

“(Even then) You wouldn’t want to use it to hide people or anything really big,” Pendry said. Scientists, however, believe that the carpet would be an “important step toward making the dream of invisibility true”, and would probably lead to some useful technologies.

Previous paper on the topic of metamaterials by Jensen Li, J. B. Pendry, Non-local effective medium of metamaterial

Metamaterials on John Pendry’s site

Other news from the Imperial College of London

0 thoughts on “Invisible rug design for making a controlled mirage”

  1. I recognize that ethanol production especially corn ethanol production is very inefficient. But if we are using this as a means to give aid for corn farmers for political reasons then it might as well be more efficient.

    We can also use the nuclear reactor steam for other biofuel processes ideally ones that are more efficient.

  2. From what I understand, the whole idea of ethanol from corn is a cross between wishful thinking from the corn growers and a hoped for transitional step for ethanol enthusiasts – few of whom think corn and other food crops will be used in the final industry. The source of ethanol will need to be plants that can be grown on land that is too salty or otherwise unsuitable for wilderness and crops. A recent news story mentioned that the byproduct of biodiesel production can now be converted via bacterial fermentation to ethanol giving two fuels from one source. I also understand that new filtering technology could eliminate the ethanol distillation step altogether.

    Perhaps the spare heat could be used for a less efficient but less energy intensive form of desalinization by heating sea water at coasts, letting the water laden air rise up insulated pipes over mountain ranges where it would normally cool to rain, and then enter non insulated pipes going down the other side of the mountain condensing to water where the denser air and liquid water would contribute to a down draft, sucking more warm wet air up the mountain.


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