How to design an invisibility cloak, to be revealed at public lecture

Monday 14 November 2011

Professor Ulf Leonhardt (Photo: Gillian Gamble)

Photograph: Gillian Gamble

Ever wanted to disappear? A new lecture series could provide the answer.

How an invisibility cloak can be designed, will be the topic at a public lecture to be given by an academic at the University of St Andrews this week (Thursday 17 November).

Dr Simon Horsley of the School of Physics and Astronomy will explain what gravity can teach us about optics.

He will explain that when a light ray passes from air into glass it changes direction, and this (the phenomenon of refraction) can be used to control where light goes.

The function of a lens to focus light rays is a familiar example of this he will say.

Advances in the manufacture of materials have enabled a much greater control over the behaviour of light than is possible with lumps of glass.

Dr Horsley will explain what kinds of optical devices can be built with these new materials (metamaterials).

He will explain that the physics governing how gravity bends light around a star can be used to create designs for new optical devices such as invisibility cloaks.

The lecture is part of a series which aims to highlight the cutting edge research being undertaken at St Andrews.

Speakers at the Beacon series are post-doctoral researchers from various departments across the university.

The talks are being run by the university’s Open Association in conjunction with St Leonard’s Postgraduate College.

Professor Dina Iordanova, Provost of St Leonard’s College, said: “The Beacon series is a great opportunity to showcase the rich and diverse work that young scholars at St Andrews are engaged with, to interested members of the local community.”

Ruth Harris, director of the university’s Open Association, said: “We are delighted to be working with the post-doctoral community in presenting this series of lectures which will give a fascinating insight into some of the cutting edge research going on at the university.”

The free Beacon lectures are open to all, and will take place on Thursday evenings from 6-7pm in Physics Lecture Theatre C in the Physics building at the North Haugh, St Andrews.



Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona MacLeod on 01334 462108/ 0771 414 0559.
Ref: (invisibility 14/11/11)
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