The researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland found out that the material called “Metaflex” has the ability to manipulate light, which can render objects invisible at longer wavelengths at around 620 nanometers.
The material, dubbed Metaflex, has been produced by researchers at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and once fully developed, it could signal a huge breakthrough, not only in the creation of “smart fabrics” but in the manufacture of super contact lenses that can be “used for visual prostheses,” according to team leader Andrea di Falco.
This ability to manipulate light is what allows metamaterials to create the illusion of invisibility — a concept already applied to a number of fields including sonar-cloaking mechanisms for ships, submarines, and planes. Take the Stealth bomber for example, a plane that can be seen in visible light yet is difficult to detect with radar. Achieving the effect in visible light is a much greater challenge, however, because the size of the metamaterial structures would have to be much smaller, according to Di Falco.
Cloaking devices have appeared throughout works of science fiction, including the “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” films. In the wildly popular global Harry Potter universe, an invisibility cloak is used to make a person appear to vanish. But in the world of real science, it’s all about figuring out how to make a flexible film, or “metamaterial,” that can manipulate light waves to make objects, like clothing, invisible.
Actually, recreating Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak isn’t high on the team’s agenda. Instead, they’re eager to apply the concept to disposable contact lenses as visual prostheses for people with impaired vision.