WASHINGTON (TIP): New metamaterials may take engineers one step closer to building invisibility cloaks or even shields that can conceal military airplanes, scientists say. Metamaterials are artificial materials engineered to bend electromagnetic, acoustic and other types of waves in ways not possible in nature.


Hao Xin, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Arizona, has made a discovery with these synthetic materials that may pave the way for microscopes with superlenses that see molecular-level details, or shields that conceal military airplanes and even people.


In the UA’s Millimeter Wave Circuits and Antennas Laboratory, Xin uses a 3D printer to make metamaterials from metals, plastics and other substances. Resembling porous plastic bowling balls and tiny copper wire circuit boards, these are configured in precise geometrical patterns to bend waves of energy in unnatural ways.

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