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Science

Fatal Flaw Discovered In Invisibility Cloaks 255

KentuckyFC writes "Carpet cloaks took the world by storm last year because they were the first devices to hide objects at optical frequencies. The idea is that a thin layer of dielectric material placed on a surface can make light look as if it is reflecting off the original surface. In other words, the layer is invisible and anything embedded within it is invisible too. This trick is like hiding something under a carpet, hence the name. Carpet cloaks are relatively easy to make because the dielectric material does not need to be specially constructed to steer light in special ways; physicists call this an isotropic material. Now a group at MIT has shown that isotropic carpet cloaks have a fatal flaw. When viewed at an angle, the carpets don't hide objects at all. Instead, they simply shift their position by about the same distance as they are high. So when viewed from an angle of 45 degrees, an object 0.2 units high is shifted to one side by a distance of 0.15 units, says the team. That's a serious limitation for carpet cloaks."

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