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Invisibility cloaking in a diffusive light scattering medium

Science  25 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6195, pp. 427-429
DOI: 10.1126/science.1254524

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To cast no shadow in a murky medium

Cloaks can hide objects from view, but what about their shadows? Schittny et al. devised a cloak to remove even the shadow of an object embedded in a murky medium in front of a computer screen (see the Perspective by Smith). They engineered a core-shell structure within which an object could be hidden and tailored the optical properties of the cloak to match that of the medium. Light was routed around the cloak, leaving no trace of the hidden object.

Science, this issue p. 427; see also p. 384

Abstract

In vacuum, air, and other surroundings that support ballistic light propagation according to Maxwell’s equations, invisibility cloaks that are macroscopic, three-dimensional, broadband, passive, and that work for all directions and polarizations of light are not consistent with the laws of physics. We show that the situation is different for surroundings leading to multiple light scattering, according to Fick’s diffusion equation. We have fabricated cylindrical and spherical invisibility cloaks made of thin shells of polydimethylsiloxane doped with melamine-resin microparticles. The shells surround a diffusively reflecting hollow core, in which arbitrary objects can be hidden. We find good cloaking performance in a water-based diffusive surrounding throughout the entire visible spectrum and for all illumination conditions and incident polarizations of light.

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