The concept of invisibility has long been relegated to the realm of science fiction, from H.G. Wells' Invisible Man to Harry Potter, but those days are gone. Last year, David R. Smith, Augustine Scholar and professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his colleagues reported a blueprint for a device that would make invisibility possible, at least at microwave frequencies. Months later, the first such invisibility cloak, built from artificial composite materials called metamaterials, was born.
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When David R. Smith first demonstrated a metamaterial that could bend electromagnetic rays in the "wrong" direction, some scientists believed it was "at best an illusion and violated the laws of physics." Source: New York Times, June 12, 2007
More recently, ECE Professor Steven Cummer and Research Associate David Schurig report evidence in The New Journal of Physics that the same transformational design process used to create the microwave cloak can also provide a path to acoustic cloaking.
While their theory suggests that such soundproof cloaks might only work in two-dimensions for objects suspended in a liquid or gas, there are several potential applications. For example, an acoustic cloak might hide a submarine from sonar detection or improve the acoustics of a room by effectively flattening a beamas far as sound waves are concerned.