18 December 2010

Physics World | How To Walk Through Walls

Imagine being able to walk through a solid wall. That sort of trick might sound far-fetched, but it’s a little closer to reality now that researchers in China have created what they call an “invisible gateway”.

Huanyang Chen at Soochow University, Jiangsu, says that the effect is a bit like “platform nine and three-quarters” – that is, the fictional area of King’s Cross railway station in the Harry Potter books that is only accessible through a secret, illusionary wall. Although the researchers’ current demonstration is based on an electrical circuit for radio waves, Chen claims that it could also work for visible light.

The idea for the invisible gateway stems from so-called transformation optics, which gave us the first invisibility cloak back in 2006. Yet the invisible gateway is almost the opposite of a cloak: rather than bend light round an object to make the object invisible, the device makes an object – a wall – appear that isn’t really there. It is, according to Chen’s group, the first demonstration of illusion optics.
More at Physics World

Via io9

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