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Scientists channel Harry Potter magic; make 'invisibility cloak' with traits of chameleon, glass frog & more

The Chimera metamaterial takes cues from nature, particularly the chameleon, known for its color-changing prowess. Just like its inspiration, this material adapts its microwave reflection properties, seamlessly blending into different environments, be it water surfaces or grasslands.

Scientists channel Harry Potter magic! Invisibility cloak with traits of chameleon, glass frog & more created snt
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First Published Jan 30, 2024, 6:17 PM IST

Researchers from Jilin and Tsinghua Universities in China have drawn inspiration from Greek mythology's Chimera to create a revolutionary hybrid material. This metamaterial, named Chimera, combines traits from the chameleon, glass frog, and bearded dragon, presenting a groundbreaking solution with the potential to actualize invisibility cloaks, echoing the wonders of Harry Potter's famed invisibility cloak.

Detailed in a study published by the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Chimera signifies a remarkable leap in reconfigurable electromagnetics, promising adaptable camouflage technologies capable of navigating diverse terrains. Through a bionics-based approach, the scientists aimed to overcome the limitations of current camouflage technologies, envisioning a future where invisibility becomes a tangible reality across ever-changing landscapes.

The Chimera metamaterial takes cues from nature, particularly the chameleon, known for its color-changing prowess. Just like its inspiration, this material adapts its microwave reflection properties, seamlessly blending into different environments, be it water surfaces or grasslands.

Taking a page from the glass frog's playbook, famed for its transparency during rest, researchers nestled the Chimera's circuitry within layers of PET plastic and quartz glass. This setup achieves optical transparency akin to the glass frog's natural invisibility.

Addressing the challenge of masking the heat generated by the material's surface circuits, scientists drew inspiration from the bearded dragon. By emulating the reptile's color-changing mechanism for temperature regulation, the Chimera metamaterial minimizes thermal differences, rendering it nearly imperceptible to thermal imaging across diverse terrains.

The Chimera metamaterial derives inspiration from the chameleon, celebrated for its remarkable color-changing capabilities. Much like the chameleon, this metamaterial fine-tunes its microwave reflection properties to effortlessly merge with diverse environments, ranging from water surfaces to grasslands.

Drawing from the transparency exhibited by the glass frog during its sleep, researchers integrated the Chimera's circuitry within layers of PET plastic and quartz glass. This design achieves optical transparency, mirroring the natural invisibility of the glass frog.

In tackling the challenge of concealing the heat generated by the metamaterial's surface circuits, scientists took cues from the bearded dragon. By emulating the reptile's color-changing mechanism for temperature regulation, the Chimera metamaterial effectively minimizes thermal differences, rendering it nearly undetectable to thermal imaging across various terrains.

In response to the need to conceal the heat produced by the metamaterial's surface circuits, researchers looked to the bearded dragon for inspiration. By replicating the reptile's color-changing capability for temperature regulation, the Chimera metamaterial effectively reduces thermal variations, rendering it nearly invisible to thermal imaging across various landscapes.

Beyond its military applications, this technology shows potential for non-invasive observation of animals in their natural environments. By reducing human interference with wildlife behavior and the surrounding ecosystem, Chimera could play a significant role in conservation endeavors.

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