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Martin McCall team calculates 'space-time cloak' to conceal events

08 December 2010

A team led by SPIE Fellow Martin McCall at Imperial CollegeMartin McCall has developed a recipe for manipulating the speed of light as it passes over an object, making it theoretically possible to "cloak" the object's movement so that an observer doesn't notice, according to a recent paper in the Journal of Optics.

With conventional materials, light typically travels along a straight line, but with metamaterials, scientists can exploit a wealth of additional flexibility to create undetectable blind spots, notes an Imperial College press release on the study. By deflecting certain parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, an image can be altered or made to look like it has disappeared.

Previously, a team led by Sir John Pendry at Imperial College London showed that metamaterials could be used to make an optical invisibility cloak. The work by McCall's team has mathematically extended the idea of a cloak that conceals objects to one that conceals events.

McCall has chaired and served on program committees for conferences on Metamaterials and Complex Photonic Media at SPIE Optics and Photonics for many years, and has published 17 papers in the SPIE Digital Library.

Pendry has published several papers with SPIE and has served on numerous conference program committees, including for the 2011 conference on Plasmonics: Metallic Nanostructres at the Optics and Photonics symposium.

Read the press release from Imperial College.

Read the Popular Science article.