Friday, May 26, 2006

Nerds everywhere are Ecstatic!

Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak Is Possible, Studies Say

May 26 (Bloomberg) -- The creation of an invisibility cloak like the one used by Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling's books is theoretically possible, scientists said in two studies published by the online Science Express journal.

The key to making an object invisible is to surround it with a cloak made of ``metamaterials'' that are engineered to bend light around an object, continuing on the other side in the same direction as before, Ulf Leonhardt, author of one of the studies, said in a telephone interview. Sound waves, which have a longer wavelength than light, can be distorted in such a way, and light bends naturally in mirages, for instance, he said.

``All one has to do is enhance this bending effect and control it better,'' said Leonhardt, Professor of theoretical physics at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. ``We've given recipes of how to do this. You have to control structures that are smaller than the wavelength of light -- less than half a micrometer,'' he said. A micrometer is a millionth of a meter.