'Acoustic Cloaking': A Reality?

Aug 1, 2008 12:00 PM

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An illustration of the “acoustic cloak,” where the circle represents the “cloaked” object and the multicolored lines are sound waves

An illustration of the “acoustic cloak,” where the circle represents the “cloaked” object and the multicolored lines are sound waves

According to a study published by the Institute of Physics, researchers in Spain have proven that metamaterials — materials defined by their unusual man-made cellular structure — constructed with sonic crystals can be designed to produce an acoustic cloak to make objects impervious to sound waves; literally, diverting sound waves around an object. The idea of acoustic cloaking and its design was previously introduced by Cummer and Schurig.

The research — “Acoustic Cloaking in Two Dimensions: A Feasible Approach” by Daniel Torrent and José Sánchez-Dehesa from the Wave Phenomena Group, Department of Electronics Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia — showed that optimum cloaking requires approximately 200 layers of the metamaterial, but there is scope for far-thinner materials to be used than current technology can produce.






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