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Israeli Researchers Crack the Code of Invisibility

14 November 2017

Now you see it, now you don’t. An optical chip has been rendered invisible by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Their cloaking method relies on silicon photonics integrated circuits which deflect and scatter light away from the “cloaking” chip’s surface so it is not detected.

According to the researchers, an operational cloaking chip can be an extension of the basic technologies such as radar-absorbing dark paint used on stealth aircraft, local optical camouflage, surface cooling to minimize electromagnetic infrared emissions, or electromagnetic wave scattering.

"These results open the door to new integrated photonic devices, harnessing electromagnetic fields of light at nanoscale for a variety of applications from on-chip optical devices to all-optical processing," said Dr. Alina Karabchevsky, head of the university’s Light-on-a-Chip Group and a member of the university’s Unit of Electro-Optical Engineering and the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. "We showed that it is possible to bend the light around an object located on the cloak on an optical chip. The light does not interact with the object, thus resulting in the object's invisibility."

"We proposed the new composite plasmonic waveguide scheme with dielectic nano-spacer based on the transformation optics principles to manipulate with light and distort the evanescent fields in a controllable manner to conceal an object," the researchers explained in Nature Scientific Reports. "The plasmonic metasurface is placed on the composite plasmonic waveguide with the nano-spacer. High dielectric nano-spacer made of Si has contributed to the light confinement in vicinity with the metasurface boundary and facilitated the coupling to the hybrid plasmonic modes. The light manipulation is realized due to the engineered effective permittivity which in turn avoids the scattering effect."

Illustration of the composite plasmonic waveguide structure and materials to study the invisibility cloaking scheme. Wavelength of λ 0 = 637 nm illuminates the dielectric waveguide exciting the fundamental mode guided in region 0. Region 1 is characterized by the metasurface and Si nano-spacer placed on the waveguide with length L in the propagation direction exciting three hybrid plasmonic modes. Region 2 is identical to the region 0 in terms of the optical properties and functionality. A scattering object with optical index of 1.3 is placed on the metasurface. (Source: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)Illustration of the composite plasmonic waveguide structure and materials to study the invisibility cloaking scheme. Wavelength of λ 0 = 637 nm illuminates the dielectric waveguide exciting the fundamental mode guided in region 0. Region 1 is characterized by the metasurface and Si nano-spacer placed on the waveguide with length L in the propagation direction exciting three hybrid plasmonic modes. Region 2 is identical to the region 0 in terms of the optical properties and functionality. A scattering object with optical index of 1.3 is placed on the metasurface. (Source: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

To contact the author of this article, email sue.himmelstein@ieeeglobalspec.com


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