The researchers' studies show that spherical and cylindrical objects coated with plasmonic shielding material produce very little light scattering. These objects, when hit by the right wavelength of light, were seen to become so small that they were almost invisible.
The study is supported by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which researches and develops cutting edge military technology.
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Some experts note, however, that cloaking devices that could enable military vehicles and aircraft, let alone spaceships, to become completely invisible to the enemy are likely to remain elusive for the foreseeable future.
John Pendry, the Imperial College physicist, said that light-shielding covers would have to be customized to match the properties of each and every object they hide.
It would be still more difficult to devise shields that could cope with all wavelengths of the visible spectrumfrom red to violet lightand not just a single color.
Types of invisibility shielding previously proposed by scientists depend on advanced camouflage systems, rather than objects being made to look undetectably tiny. Such systems involve light sensors that create a mirror image of the background scene on the concealed object.
Despite the exciting possibilities raised by the new research, it may take us some time before science is able to catch up with those evasive Romulans.
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