MM Blog: Invisibility Meta-Skin

A look at how engineers are developing a stretchy, tunable meta-skin in hopes of creating an invisibility cloak.

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Engineers at Iowa State University have created a flexible skin that can suppress radar detection and, hopefully with material advancement, make objects completely invisible to both visible and infrared light. The skin, which is made up of metamaterials that are able to manipulate electromagnetic waves, is composed of rows of electric split ring resonators embedded in silicone layers.

The small rings – with a 2.5 mm radius – are filled with an alternative to mercury, an alloy called galinstan. The rings then trap and cut off radar waves at particular frequencies. Traditional stealth technologies try to block radar waves with a barrier, but this method is different according to the researchers because it acts more like a radar sponge, absorbing the waves.

Researchers say it will take advancements in nanomaterials to be able to cloak a larger object, but remain optimistic from the results of their current project.


Other than military applications, what other uses do you see for this material? What problems do you see with the future development of the meta-skin?

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