Coatings that conceal real objects

 Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University in the US have developed "illusion coatings" that can hide things by making them appear like something else.

IANS| Updated: Dec 21, 2014, 15:26 PM IST

New York: Researchers at the Pennsylvania State University in the US have developed "illusion coatings" that can hide things by making them appear like something else.

The so-called "illusion coatings" - flexible, light-weight materials - could help soldiers or spies hide antennae and sensors from view while still allowing the devices to scan the outside world.

"The demonstrated illusion/cloaking coating is a light-weight two-dimensional metasurface, not a bulky three-dimensional metamaterial," said Douglas Werner from the Pennsylvania State University.

The new coating of a negligible thickness allows coated objects to function normally while appearing as something different or even completely disappearing, Live Science reported.

The coating is made of thin sheets of a composite material composed of glass fibres and Teflon. These were covered with patterns of copper stripes that interacted with the composite material to scatter radio waves in a very precise way. The stripes are one third the thickness of a human hair.

Depending on the copper patterns used, the coating can make a copper antenna or sensor appear to be silicon or Teflon.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.