Emma Boyes
30/08/2011 18:39 | By Emma Boyes, contributor, MSN Tech & Gadgets
Science fiction into science fact


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The first demonstration of an invisibility cloak was made in 2007 by Professor David Smith's group at Duke University, followed by two independent works on an invisibility cloak for visible light. Shuang Zhang was the lead researcher on one of these for the University of Birmingham.

Zhang says: "These works at least showed the proof-of-principle demonstration of invisibility, however, it is still far from practical applications due to several limitations."

And don't expect a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak anytime yet.

"The invisibility cloaks in the real world work by bending light around the objects, and therefore need to be fairly thick [rather than lightweight cloth] to offer enough room to do the light bending work. They're also much bigger than the object they're cloaking - often a few tens of times larger.

"In addition, the cloak has to be rigid and maintain a certain shape. If its shape changes, the cloaking effect will disappear."

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