| ..John Wallace|
..Laser Focus World
Optical metamaterials are truly revolutionary: their properties (for example, a printable negative-index material) are like no other, and their nanoscale structure can be varied as a function of position to create unusual devices -- such as "cloaks." The idea is that the electromagnetic properties within the cloak create a coordinate-transformed space that can divide and channel light around an object and recombine it to form a seemingly undisturbed wavefront. Great idea, and extremely difficult to achieve, especially for objects larger than a few wavelengths in size.
It's also extremely difficult to write about, especially by the general press -- which incessantly mangles the topic by prattling on about Harry Potter invisibility cloaks, making readers or viewers think that Harry Potter-style magic is just around the corner.
Just one of many examples:
By the way, in the above example, the "invisibility cloak" is not a metamaterial cloaking device at all. It's simply a switchable photothermal mirror. (Note to the general press: my bathroom mirror is not an invisibility cloak, either.)
So where does the uninformed reader, who is even less informed after reading pop-sci Potter-material articles, expect the first consumer-grade invisibility cloak to appear?
Hammacher-Schlemmer -- where it is simply called "The Invisibility Cloak."
The Apple Store -- where it comes in the form of an iPhone skin.
A toolbar for your browser -- without the feature, the toolbar is gray; with it, the toolbar is gray.
Military surplus -- yeah, we all know the feds developed this years ago and are walking among us even as we speak.
Laser Focus World -- actually, no, you won't find it here. Sorry.