For years scientists have been researching metamaterials with hopes to make real life 'invisibility cloaks' possible, but there has been a lack of progress in creating large enough pieces of these materials for any useful applications. With a new printing method developed by John Rogers, a materials science professor at the University of Illinois, the research has taken one step closer to making Harry Potter fans worldwide squirm in excitement.
The material that Rogers has been researching is capable of interacting with near-infrared light, bending it in a wrong way to make a sort of nighttime invisibility. The printing method involves molding a plastic stamp with a type of fishnet pattern on it while placing alternating layers of the metamaterial ingredients on the stamp. This forms a mesh that is then transferred to a piece of glass or plastic that results in the formation of metamaterial sheets. These sheets may only be a few inches large, but they are still much larger than previous metamaterial printing methods.
Perhaps utilizing Rogers' method on a larger scale may result in larger metamaterial fabrics that can be used to create cloaks or clothing. The tech is great but I wouldn't get my hopes up for any commercialization of invisibility cloaks any time soon. Something tells me governments wouldn't be too comfortable with too many of these things floating around.