Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Eureka! World's first invisibility cloak now a reality

Although the cloak is only microscopic in size, the principles behind the technology should enable it to be scaled-up to conceal macroscopic items as well

 

Turning science fiction and fantasy into a stunning reality, scientists from the US Department of Energy (DOE)'s Berkeley Lab and University of California (UC)-Berkeley have devised the first-ever ultra-thin invisibility “skin” cloak that can conform to the shape of an object and conceal it from detection with visible light.
 
Although the cloak is only microscopic in size, the principles behind the technology should enable it to be scaled-up to conceal macroscopic items as well.
 
Working with brick-like blocks of gold nanoantennas, the Berkeley researchers “fashioned a “skin” cloak barely 80 nanometers in thickness.
 
It was wrapped around a 3D object about the size of a few biological cells and arbitrarily shaped with multiple bumps and dents.
 
The surface of the skin cloak was meta-engineered to reroute reflected light waves so that the object was rendered invisible to optical detection when the cloak is activated.
 
“This is the first time a 3D object of arbitrary shape has been cloaked from visible light,” said Xiang Zhang, director of Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and a world authority on metamaterials.
 
“Our ultra-thin cloak now looks like a coat. It is easy to design and implement, and is potentially scalable for hiding macroscopic objects,” he said in a paper that appeared in the journal Science.
 
It is the scattering of light - be it visible, infrared or X-ray - from its interaction with matter that enables us to detect and observe objects.
 
For the past 10 years, Zhang and his research group have been pushing the boundaries of how light interacts with metamaterials, managing to curve the path of light or bend it backwards -- phenomena not seen in natural materials -- and to render objects optically undetectable.
 
In the Berkeley study, when red light struck an arbitrarily-shaped 3D sample object in area that was conformally wrapped in the gold nanoantenna skin cloak, the light reflected off the surface of the skin cloak was identical to light reflected off a flat mirror, making the object underneath it invisible even by phase-sensitive detection.
 
The cloak can be turned "on" or "off" simply by switching the polarisation of the nanoantennas.
 
“A phase shift provided by each individual nanoantenna fully restores both the wavefront and the phase of the scattered light so that the object remains perfectly hidden,” explained co-lead author Zi Jing Wong.
 
The ability to manipulate the interactions between light and metamaterials offers future prospects for technologies such as high resolution optical microscopes and superfast optical computers.
 
Invisibility skin cloaks on the microscopic scale might prove valuable for hiding the detailed layout of microelectronic components or for security encryption purposes.
 
At the macroscale, among other applications, invisibility cloaks could prove useful for 3D displays.
 

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Parcel reaches destination after 40 years in Australia

The battered parcel was delivered to a Melbourne tennis club after it was first ordered in the mid-1970s, a media report said on Friday

 

A parcel in Australia took 40 years to reach its destination.
 
The battered parcel was delivered to a Melbourne tennis club after it was first ordered in the mid-1970s, a media report said on Friday.
 
The parcel, containing sew-on patches of the club's crest, is believed to have fallen behind machinery in a sorting centre at Australia Post -- the state-owned mail service -- only to be discovered recently when the company moved to another facility, reported Xinhua citing News Corp.
 
Former committee member of the tennis club Irene Garrett, who the package was addressed to, said she "had a good laugh" when the item finally arrived.
 
"I couldn't believe it, I'd forgotten all about. We're guessing it must have been around 1975, and I must have ordered it," Garrett was quoted as saying on Friday. "I'm guessing I ordered it because it was addressed to me."
 
The name and address on the envelope remained legible four decades on, according to Garett.
 
Garrett, who is no longer associated with the tennis club, thanked Australia Post workers for its better-late-than-never attitude.
 
"It's allowed us to get back in touch with past members of our club and we've heard some fantastic stories about what used to happen in the early days," Garrett said.
 
"(The parcel) could have just been thrown in the bin but it's great that people are so honest to say we found something and to deliver it." 
 

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Garibi Hatao has remained mere political slogan: Modi

The BJP-led central government was committed to making basic changes in government schemes so that the poor were actually benefited, the prime minister said in his address after distributing e-rickshaws to the poor

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that 'Garibi Hatao' (remove poverty) had sadly remained a mere slogan for the past many decades and that efforts for a turnaround in the lives of the poor had failed to bear fruit.
 
"Chunav ke dauran gareebi ki maala japte rehna ek aam baat hai (it is normal to speak of poverty during poll campaigning)," he said while addressing a gathering of rickshaw pullers in his Varanasi parliamentary constituency. 
 
The BJP-led central government was committed to making basic changes in government schemes so that the poor were actually benefited, the prime minister said in his address after distributing e-rickshaws to the poor.
 
"We have initiated many things, including skill development, which will enable the poor to begin their lives afresh and in a much better, financially sustainable manner," the prime minister said. 
 
He said he however did not wish to blame any previous government or political party for the pitiable condition of the poor in the country.
 
'Garibi Hatao' slogan was coined in the early 70s by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and the Congress. 
 
Modi, a first-time Lok Sabha MP from the temple town, also urged the people to send their children to school as "education was a great weapon in fighting poverty."
 
He also pointed out how the Jan Dhan scheme launched by the NDA government had benefited the poor and almost 18 crore accounts had been opened. 
 
Earlier, the prime minister was received by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, state cabinet minister Balram Yadav and district officials.

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