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Visible Light and Matter

Explores what occurs when light collides with matter and terms used to describe these interactions.

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Now You See Me, Now You Don't

Now You See Me, Now You Don't

Credit: Sean McGrath
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52798669@N00/3248483447
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Crystal balls, magic wands, invisibility cloaks—they’re just found in magic acts and fantasy flicks, right? Maybe not.

Amazing But True!

  • Scientists have taken a page from “Harry Potter” and created an invisibility cloak—well, sort of.
  • They’ve actually come up with several methods of making things invisible. One way is with metamaterials that are able to bend light waves around objects that they cloak. Anything covered with the metamaterial becomes invisible.
  • For example, cover your body with the material, and no one can see you. Instead, they can see right through you!
  • You can get an idea of how invisibility cloaks work by watching the videos at these URLs:

What Do You Think?

With the links below, learn more about metamaterials and invisibility cloaks. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What are metamaterials?
  2. How do metamaterials make things invisible?
  3. What might be some practical uses for materials that make things invisible?
  4. What do you think? If you had an invisibility cloak, how would you use it?

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  1. [1]^ Credit: Sean McGrath; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52798669@N00/3248483447; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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