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article imageHas invisibility material been created?

By Tim Sandle     Apr 2, 2018 in Science
Now you see it, now you don't? Researchers have developed a material that could make people or objects invisible to infrared night vision tools. The primary application would be military use.
The material is based on fictional dinosaurs and squids. While these fantasy elements add a touch of the esoteric, the resultant technology has a practical use and it could be used to protect soldiers and structures. Devised at University of California, Irvine, the material quickly rapidly alter how it reflects heat. This makes the material invisible to infrared night vision tools.
The research shows how thin swatches of material can speedily alter how they reflect heat. This is by smoothing or wrinkling their surfaces in less than one second, following an activity like being stretched or being subject to an electrical trigger. The resultant reaction is that the material becomes invisible to infrared night vision tools.
A secondary effect occurs, which allows the material to modulate its temperature. With this second effect the material may have a use other than camouflage. The ability to alter temperature could see practical applications with insulation for spacecraft, storage containers, or even as use with emergency shelters.
According to lead researcher Professor Alon Gorodetsky, the natural world was the primary source for inspiration: "Basically, we've invented a soft material that can reflect heat in similar ways to how squid skin can reflect light. It goes from wrinkled and dull to smooth and shiny, essentially changing the way it reflects the heat."
The basis of the material is very simple: composed of only sandwiches of aluminum, plastic, and sticky tape. The multiple layers of alternating materials with vary the refractive index, much like cephalopod skin. The next step is to scale up the research to create large sheets of commercially useable material.
The research has been published in the journal Science. The research paper is titled "Adaptive infrared-reflecting systems inspired by cephalopods."
More about Invisibility, infrared, Night vision
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