The Obama administration announced Friday that it would establish an Institute for Manufacturing Innovation on photonics, or the science of using light in everything from advanced manufacturing to transmitting data. The industry and related fields such as optics and imaging already account for an estimated 17,000 jobs in this region.
BBC Click’s Spencer Kelly looks at some of the best of the week’s technology – including how scientists at the University of Rochester are using a series of lenses to create a form of invisibility and plans to turn the game Tetris into a film.
Could this be the invention that every Harry Potter fan has been waiting for? Nerds the world over are going gaga for a so called invisibility cloak. It uses lenses to make light pass around an object so it looks like it isn’t there. To tell us about the breakthrough we have the creator of the invisibility cloak, Professor John Howell with the University of Rochester. Can you talk us through how this works?
Everyone from Harry Potter to working physicists are fascinated with cloaking devices. Now, researchers at at the University of Rochester have used simple, inexpensive, off-the-shelf components to hide objects in the visible spectrum of light. In other words, now you see it; now you don’t.
It’s like a very small invisibility cloak made of glass. Researchers at the University of Rochester seem to be taking the words of science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s to heart: “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Scientists have recently developed several ways—some simple and some involving new technologies—to hide objects from view. The latest effort, developed by physics professor John Howell and graduate student Joseph Choi, not only overcomes some limitations of previous devices, but uses inexpensive, readily available materials in a new way. “This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking,” said Choi.
Physicists have figured out the optical parameters for a magic trick they characterize as a kind of “invisibility cloak” — and unlike most magicians, they’re only too willing to show you how it’s done. “We just figured a very simple way of doing that can just be using standard lenses, and things that we normally find in the lab,” physics professor John Howell said in a video explaining the setup.
Anton Zeilinger, one of the world’s leading experts in the field of quantum optics, will present a free, public lecture Tuesday at the University of Rochester. The talk is designed to convey the exciting frontiers of quantum mechanics to a general audience.
A new combination of materials can efficiently guide electricity and light along the same tiny wire, a finding that could be a step towards building computer chips capable of transporting digital information at the speed of light.