The Lookout

Texas scientist makes strands of ‘invisibility cloak’

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

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Aliev's invisibility threads in the process of disappearing (UT Dallas)

A University of Texas Dallas scientist is working on developing a technology that would delight Harry Potter fans everywhere--an invisibility cloak.

Ali Aliev uses carbon nanotubes--which look like pieces of thread--and then heats them up rapidly until the objects beneath them effectively disappear.You can watch the threads disappear as they are heated up in the video below.

So how do the threads work? In a paper published in Nanotechnology in June, Aliev explains that the invisibility cloak exploits the "mirage effect." A highway can become so hot that small circles that look like puddles of water appear in the road. That happens when the road is so hot that the surface bends the light around it, so that the driver sees the reflected sky instead of the pavement. The carbon nanotubes create a similar effect.

But for now, Aliev only has the capacity to make tiny sheets from a few threads, he told NBC's Amanda Guerra. Luckily, many other scientists around the world are also working hard on this technology. In the United Kingdom, scientists are working to create temperature-controlled plates to attach to tanks that would make them disappear when viewed through night-vision goggles.

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