Harry Potter’s Metamaterials

The above picture shows everyone’s favourite boy magician wearing his Cloak of Invisibility. This iconic item of clothing is a symbol of all that is magical and wonderful, rather like the unicorn or teleportation. And, like these things, an invisible cloak is an impossibility. Or is it?

A flexible metamaterial has been developed that has the property to manipulate light in such a way that it could begin the journey to making objects invisible. Metamaterials are man-made, with structures that can bend light, rather like a car’s aerodynamics deflects air flow around the vehicle.

Although these materials have been produced before, the problem is that lightwaves, until now, have only been able to be bent around objects the size of their own wavelength, which is teeny weeny.

However, researchers at the University of St Andrews have managed to produce a material called Meta-flex that could go someway to producing a flexible invisibility cloak. Dr Andrea Di Falco explains:

“Typically what you do is stack several layers of fishnet structures and this all together will give you a metamaterial. What I’ve done here is fabricate a single layer – I lift it off so that at the end I am left with a self-standing membrane – and show that it has the properties required to create a 3D flexible metamaterial”.

The implications for experiential marketing and PR campaigns could be awesome. Aside from the obvious use of an invisibility cloak to perform a ‘reveal’, the possibilties are endless in terms of harnessing the power of invisibility as a marketing tool.

All ideas welcome – submit them and enter our competition to win a bottle of bubbly: Add idea.

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