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Researchers create device that can hide from infrared cameras at a moment’s notice

Discussion in 'Tin Foil Hat Lounge' started by HK_User, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Now you see it, now you don’t. Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have created a device that can absorb 99.75% of the infrared light shined on it. It’s so effective, in fact, that when activated, it appears entirely black to infrared cameras.

    Mikhail Kats, Federico Capasso, and Shriram Ramanathan worked together to create the new device.
    Internal components
    The device is composed of a 180-nanometer-thick layer of vanadium dioxide atop a sheet of sapphire. The unique combination of these two materials reacts to temperature changes by reflecting and absorbing light.
    “Our structure uses a highly unusual approach, with better results,” says principal investigator Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at SEAS. “We exploit a kind of naturally disordered metamaterial, along with thin-film interference effects, to achieve one of the highest absorption rates we’ve ever seen. Yet our perfect absorber is structurally simpler than anything tried before, which is important for many device applications.”
    Vanadium dioxide is an insulating material, which means it doesn’t conduct electricity very well. But when it gets exposed to high temperatures — specifically, 154F (68 C) — it goes through a series of very peculiar changes: the crystals within the material rearrange as the temperature approaches critical value. As this is happening, metallic islands begin to appear as specks, with more and more appearing until the material has become uniformly metallic.
    The underlying sapphire substrate, meanwhile, is a normally transparent material. But it contains a crystal structure, which makes it opaque and reflective to a narrow subset of infrared wavelengths.
    These properties, when manipulated correctly with temperature, can be used together in a singular device that both internally reflects and absorbs infrared light.
    “Right near this insulator-to-metal transition, you have a very interesting mixed medium, made up of both insulating and metallic phases,” says coauthor Shriram Ramanathan, Associate Professor of Materials Science at SEAS, who synthesized the thin film. “It’s a very complex and rich microstructure in terms of its electronic properties, and it has very unusual optical properties.”
    Diagram on left displays experimental setup used for measuring reflectivity of device. Chart on the right shows that hitting just the right temperature (light blue line) leads to the reflectivity of the device dropping to almost zero for infrared light at a wavelength of 11.6 microns.
    “Both of these materials have lots of optical losses, and we’ve demonstrated that when light reflects between lossy materials, instead of transparent or highly reflective ones, you get strange interface reflections,” explains lead author Mikhail Kats, a graduate student at SEAS. “When you combine all of those resulting waves, you can coax them to destructively interfere and completely cancel out. The net effect is that a film one hundred times thinner than the wavelength of the incident light can create perfect absorption.”
    “Vanadium oxide can exist in many oxidation states, and only if you have VO2 does it go through a metal-insulator transition close to room temperature,” Ramanathan explains. “We have developed several techniques in our lab to allow exquisite compositional and structural control, almost at the atomic scale, to grow such complex films. The resulting phase purity allows us to see these remarkable properties, which otherwise would be very difficult to observe.”
    The device, as it stands today, can easily be switched between absorbent and non-absorbent states, making it useful in several applications, including thermal imaging devices, spectroscopy devices, tunable filters, thermal emitters, and more.
    With that being the case, Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has already filed patent applications on the group’s invention, and is currently pursuing licensing and commercialization opportunities. ■
    Story via: seas.harvard.edu
    fajb_invisible_material_01_dec2012. fajb_invisible_material_02_dec2012.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Interesting...and now, the thermal barrier.
  3. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Can't help but wonder about the cost...

    Aww heck who cares, the .gov 'll just print enough money for it.
  4. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I hereby patent and copyright all concepts and systems for reactive camo that use this technology.
    VisuTrac likes this.
  5. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Plain old poncho liner under a space blanket helps a lot when covered with another.
    ColtCarbine and tulianr like this.
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    uh, no. To get a patent YOU must have a working prototype, And paperwork to back up the design process, and all the dates involved. This can take the form of a "poorboy patent" in which all data, designs, dates and signatures, along with prototype, are sealed and mailed to yourself (passing through the FEDERAL MAIL SERVICE, which document it for dates. As long as the seals are intact, this has been known to stand up in court) And to the best of my knowledge, it is impossible to copyright a concept. (since that is an idea only) Though some guys did try to patent fire.....
  7. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    Um.. shut up? I was making a ha ha while inserting a practical use for the tech at the same time.. but noooo.. you had to go off and be all "ehem.. ehem".. don't.. just don't. not with me.
    aside from that, you only need so much as a design / drawing. You do NOT need a working anything, though that does help :) you can also get a utility patent. Anywhoo... the idea would be reactive camo USING the technology. That would be the invention, not the tech driving it. Word to the wise.. try to read the humor or we're going to butt heads. I'm in a shitty mood today and don't need to deal with internet bullcrap.

    So let's start over, shall we?

    I say.. "I hereby patent and copyright all concepts and systems for reactive camo that use this technology."

    and then you say..

    "ha ha.. nice one.. ".

    ...and then we laugh and carry on...
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Or...maybe not. I have a prototype now. I have two other ideas in the design phase. My uncle is a high muckity-muck electronics guru, with lots of patents, I have musicians buddies with "poor-boy copyrights".....I'm familiar with the process. Despite your moods. And claiming someone else's work is an affront to me. (AKA not funny). And if you can't tell by now, I like humor. So if you feel the need to butt heads, then butt away. But do it tomorrow, I will be up in 4 hours, and I just got back from the emergency room.
  9. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I have no desire to butt heads with anyone, but your response wreaks of someone just looking for something to be all huffy about. That kinds of garbage doesn't fly with me. You need to address this issue within yourself. Even in humor, my post did not suggest theft of any kind. Using someone else's tech to develop a product is not theft. Obviously you would license the tech and apply it. Look.. this is going far beyond the humor part and into pedantry. It's stupid and adolescent. If you're gonna have an attitude about a quip, then I suggest you see a shrink, especially after I tried to reboot with humor and was shrugged off. This is on you.. Anytime you want to re-engage like an adult, let me know.
  10. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Time to end this "Tit for Tat" folks.... If NOT, the thread will get locked... so please move along, and just Agree to Disagree, on the issue.....
    VisuTrac likes this.
  11. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Thanks BT, a serious thread got ridiculously hijacked. Being able to hide from FLIR might save their lives and/or the lives of their compatriots.
    HK_User likes this.
  12. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    For my part, I am sorry. I find the product of the mind as personal as it get. Any invention is invested with countless hours of thought, effort, sweat, and fear of failure. For someone to say "I'll take that for my own." To lay claim to any part of it, unearned, is pilferage. Please forgive the wander, I'll say no more about it.
  13. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    -06, do you put a space blanket between two ponchos?
  14. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I never laid claim to anything. deal with it.

    On topic.. the other thread with the invisible camo seems to complement this nicely. No visible light and no IR .. completely hidden. I dig it. Oh and I hereby patent the combination of the two technologies to render any solid invisible to both visible (to the human eye) and IR light. Here's my design... what? you can't see it? EXACTLY!!
  15. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Thermal camoflague is a little more than just being the same temperature as your surroundings. You have to be at the same emmisivity as your surroundings, or slight temperature differences will show your silouette. The position of the sun, the vegetation around you, the shape of the vegetation around you, sunset/sunrise, all play a factor.

    Here's a chart on emissivity below.

    The trick is to wear something (on the outside) that has the same emissivity as your surroundings. Also note that your body heat has to be contained at the same time, or it will bloom for an IR sensor. Lastly, you still have to camoflauge yourself for the visible spectrum, or you will stand out to the naked eye.

    Attached Files:

  16. EdD270

    EdD270 Wanderer

    Since the thing "appears entirely black to infrared cameras"that in itself will be a give-away. See the black spot? That's the target!
    Also, I wonder what it's thermal properties are. Does it absorb or radiate heat at a higher or lower rate than other ordinary materials? Anyone using ifrared to find something, or someone, will most likely have thermal capability as well.
    Pretty neat stuff, but alas, there's not perfect concealment, just as there's no perfect rifle or cartridge.
  17. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    See the emissivity chart above!

    What you are asking for is the emissivity of certain materials. You are correct, just covering up a heat source without trying to "blend" in with the surroundings emissivity, you will stick out like a sore thumb.

    Unfortunately, my experience is with off the shelf civillian use equipment used at testing facilities and for monitering thermal properties of electrical equipment. I never got to play with any of the military grade stuff. I can't imagine that the principles I learned can't be translated to that field.
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