Transformation optics and cloaking

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Invisibility, a long sought-for speculation in science fiction, has been turned into reality in the laboratory through the use of a theoretical technique called Transformation Optics. The principles of transformation optics show that any desired smooth deformation of the electromagnetic field can be implemented exactly by an appropriately engineered metamaterial. All demonstrations of cloaking to date have had limitations, however, reflecting our technological inability to implement the transformation optics algorithm exactly. However, the scientific principles leading to perfect invisibility are now established, and practical improvements on the initial designs are now occurring very rapidly. Most recently, researchers have re-examined transformation optics to include time as well as space, describing and then implementing the concept of a cloak that hides events, a conceptual breakout that promises many new applications. This review describes the general ideas underlying transformation optics, and how the various types of cloak based on these ideas have been implemented practically to date.

Keywords: cloaking; metamaterials; transformation optics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Physics, Imperial College London, London, UK, .

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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