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Surprising Science

Researchers Hide Objects with Mirage Effect

Scientists have created a working cloaking device using sheets of carbon nanotubes which create the “mirage effect” observed in deserts or on long roads in the summer.

What’s the Latest Development?

Scientists have created a working cloaking device which harnesses the ability of sheets of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to conduct heat and transfer it to surrounding areas, thus creating the mirage effect observed in deserts or on long, hot roads—an optical phenomenon due to light rays bending to produce a displaced image of distant objects. A steep temperature gradient causes light rays to bend away from an object concealed behind the new device, making it ‘invisible.’

What’s the Big Idea?

Though it sounds like something Harry Potter would use, there are more practical applications. For instance, the research results provide useful insights into the optimization of nanotube sheets as thermoacoustic projectors for loudspeaker and sonar applications, where sound is produced by heating using an alternating electrical current.


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