Pentagon brass are said to be very interested in a new stealth invisibility cloaking technology recently announced by scientists.
The research team at the University of California-San Diego, Boubacar Kante, Li Yi Hsu and Thomas Lepetit, released a paper detailing their testing of the first working "dielectric metasurface cloak" – an invisibility cloak.
The cloak is a lightweight, material which manipulates electromagnetic waves which include the normal spectrum of visible light detectible to both the naked eye and radio waves. The device renders it undetectable by radar because radio waves simply reflect off the material.
Radar detects objects by bouncing electromagnetic waves off an object and then back to the receiver. The principle is very similar to bats' use of echolocation, a radar-like ability, to help them "see".
Human vison requires light waves to bounce off matter and then is perceived by our eye receptors and sent to the brain for analysis.
According to the researchers, they claim they can theoretically manipulate light and sound waves to prevent detection, by both natural and mechanical means, in certain atmospheric conditions.
The concept of invisibility dates back to the ancient Greek myths including Perseus' much-vaunted "cap of invisibility" to help slay Medusa. In more modern times, invisibility was popularized in H.G. Wells' Victorian-era novel "The Invisible Man", Star Trek's Klingon cloaking devices, Harry Potter's invisibility cloak and S.H.I.E.L.D. Hellicarriers in "The Avengers" films.
The scientists revealed their experiments involved cloaking a minuscule object but believe the transparent know-how will also work on much larger objects.
“I am very excited about this work,” Kante told Army Times.
The metamaterials tech could render military vehicles and transport undetectable to enemies while an army of invisible soldiers could wreak untold havoc.
Xiang Zhang, director of the Materials Sciences Division of the US Department of Energy, said it may take 5 to 10 years to perfect the system. "More work needs to be done," he claimed, saying the invisibility cloak doesn't function for radar and light detection systems yet.
The innovative tech could also be used to redirect solar energy and fix it to a single point, creating a blistering heat ray – like a magnifying glass focused on an ant. Or heat a home by bouncing radiant energy via a ceramic mirrored system.
Kante divulged that a Defense Department project manager has already contacted the research team. He is reportedly submitting a bid within weeks.
"Basically, we are ready to make them right now,” Kante told Army Times. “There’s no fundamental roadblocks. It would be easy to manufacture.”