Creation of Ghost Illusions Using Metamaterials

Arxiv – The creation of wave-dynamic illusion functionality is of great interests to various scientific communities, which can potentially transform an actual perception into the pre-controlled perception, thus empowering unprecedented applications in the advanced-material science, camouflage, cloaking, optical and/or microwave cognition, and defense security, etc. By using the space transformation theory and engineering capability of metamaterials, we propose and realize a functional “ghost” illusion device, which is capable of creating wave-dynamic virtual ghost images off the original object’s position under the illumination of electromagnetic waves. The scattering signature of the object is thus ghosted and perceived as multiple ghost targets with different geometries and compositions. The ghost-illusion material, being inhomogeneous and anisotropic, was realized by thousands of varying unit cells working at non-resonance. The experimental demonstration of the ghost illusion validates our theory of scattering metamorphosis and opens a novel avenue to the wave-dynamic illusion, cognitive deception, manipulate strange light or matter behaviors, and design novel optical and microwave devices.

Their idea does not make the initial object invisible. Instead, their device takes the light scattered from the first object and distorts it to look like something else. The symmetry of the effect–light is scattered on both sides of the apple–mean that this approach produces two “ghost” bananas, one on each side of the apple. The technique does not remove the object entirely but distorts it, making it appear much smaller.

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