www.whyville.net Jul 14, 2013 Weekly Issue

Senior Times Writer

Not So Mythical

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We all know know what Harry Potter is and how significant it is to the fictional world that we imagine in our everyday life. What if all of Harry Potter wasn't so fictional? What if there were such things as witches and wizards, ghouls and goblins, flying broomsticks and wands? Now, let's not get too crazy, here. One thing, however, was brought to my attention earlier this week. I looked through some articles that could maybe spark up some imagination, or perhaps an investigation. "A Real-Life Invisibility Cloak" caught my eye. Being a Harry Potter fan myself, I couldn't resist but sneaking a peak.

Did you know that our eyes are gullible? Our eyes detect light that are bounced off of object and then our brains interpret what the object is. Then it turns them into the images that we see. You there! The one reading this article. Yeah, you! Your eyes and brain just interpreted light waves and, in less time than a blink of an eye, projected the images of the world that you see today. To me, this information sounds pretty dang cool. I bet you want to know why our eyes are easily tricked, now.

Our brain makes assumptions that light travels in a straight line from the object to our eyes. Light has two components: magnetic and electrical. Any traditional material wouldn't be able to change the light path. Might I add the emphasis on the "traditional material". Research over a little over a decade has actually helped scientists create this new, artificial material that would "bend" the light waves. That material is known as metamaterial. Metamaterial basically allows the beholder to manipulate both magnetic and electrical components simultaneously.

In 2012, the world's first [recorded] invisibility cloak was created using metamaterials. The thing is, the cloak only works with microwaves, a spectrum of light that we can't see. Since the cloak doesn't function quite so well in visible light, this cloak is a little irrelevant if we want a true and authentic "invisibility cloak".

There are some interesting points that I would like to make with the metamaterial. Just about every time you are about to board a plane, you are scanned with microwaves. Cellular devices, along with of other devices similar to the iPad and iPod, sort of make virtual contact with one another. So, even in this microwave state, there is a possibility that cloaking can be used to remove obstacles from microwave communication. It could even be used to hide things that we might not want to be found. Cloaking the microwaves could pose a problem for future human safety. People could board planes with potentially dangerous objects that can be hidden by the cloak. As the cloaking technology continues to grow, safety technologies could also grow to deflect, or reduce, the threat of hiding dangerous objects.

Another interesting thing that I feel like I should state is that microwaves are in the same electromagnetic spectrum as visible light. This also poses a difficulty: the wavelengths of visible light are over 10,000 times smaller than that of microwaves. What the heck does that mean? The metamaterial would have to be equally reduced in size. Keep in mind that the metamaterial is extremely thin as it is. It's made up of metascreen which is made from copper strips and polycarbonate film. The copper strips are 66-micrometers thick. The polycarbonate film is 100-micrometers thick.

Even though it will be a great challenge to create a visible-light invisibility cloak, the metamaterial cloak that can dodge microwaves proves that there is still a fighting chance that a visible-light invisibility cloak can exist in our Muggle realm. When that will be? Nobody knows. All we can do is let researchers and scientists work hard and hopefully we can hide in plain sight like Harry Potter did in his magical adventures.

HotTrent1, flying away! *jumps on a broomstick and flies to Platfrom 9 3/4*

Author's Note: Thank you for reading, and may there soon be a way for me to hide from all of you evil Muggles without borrowing Harry's cloak.


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