Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have created a way to turn Teflon into a proto-invisibility cloak.

The design is made of a thin sheet of Teflon lined with small cylindrical ceramic particles which change height. By changing the direction of the material, electromagnetic waves can be redirected to give the impression of invisibility. This effect is called cloaking, and can change the perception of a flat surface entirely.

Teflon could be transformed into an invisibility cloak. Image 1.

Senior author Boubacar Kanté, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering is hopeful that this advance in fiber technology will extend to more than just invisibility.

He says, “Using this technology, we can do more than make things invisible. We can change the way light waves are being reflected at will and ultimately focus a large area of sunlight onto a solar power tower, like what a solar concentrator does. We also expect this technology to have applications in optics, interior design and art.”

All images: Forbes / Li-Yi Hsu / UC San Diego