Boubacar Kante, professor at the University of California-San Diego, and his colleagues have developed a technology that could potentially make aircrafts invisible, according to the Army Times.
True invisibility remains a fantasy, but a new material called a “dielectric metasurface cloak” could prevent radio and light waves from reaching satellite radars. The cloak is made out of a super thin, non-metal material that manipulates incoming electromagnetic waves.
Here’s how it works: a satellite radar can’t detect aircrafts without radio waves reflecting back to a receiver, or light waves reflecting off an object and into the retina. In 2006, researchers found it possible to absorb or direct electromagnetic waves around an object using a lightweight surface.
Now, some 10 years later, Kante’s team has made important breakthroughs, the Army Times reports. They’ve found that ceramic materials rather than metallic materials can manipulate incoming radio and light waves. Most metallic materials measure 10 times thicker than a wavelength. Kante’s team uses a ceramic material that measures at 1/10 of a wavelength thus making most of an object invisible.
An effective cloaking technology would make the U.S. military superior in the air for obvious reasons. As of right now, it is difficult to bring an aircraft close to its target, and most aircrafts are unmanned. The new material could bring manned military aircrafts closer to targets. The material could also be used on the ground as a high-end camouflage.
Kante and his team said they are in contact with a Defense Department project manager and hope to submit a proposal before the end of the month.
“Basically we are ready to make them right now,” Kante said.
Kante said Ceramics are cheap and abundant.
“There are no fundamental roadblocks,” Kante added. “It would be easy to manufacture.”
Estimates have been put at five to 10 years before widespread use.
Kayla Matola, research analyst for the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center, said Kante’s design is “basically what the military is looking for.”
Kante came to the U.S. from France in 2010 to develop a technology for trapping sunlight for energy.