Invisibility cloaks have been created to hide from magnetic detection, eyesight, radar waves and the IRS (just kidding). We can now add thermal cloaking to that list, with the recent research paper released by Sebastien Guenneau and his team from the Institut Fresnel in France. The theory outlined in ‘Transformation thermodynamics: cloaking and concentrating heat flux’ cloaks heat signatures from thermal optics typically used by militaries around the world.
The principle is based off of heat diffusion where an object is detected by infrared waves (thermal radiation) because of the heat associated with it. To make the object invisible, the team proposes using a system of ‘concentric rings’ made of both metal and plastic. These rings help isolate, and or, moves the heat energy away from the object being hidden. The metal rings are good at dissipating heat (heat sink?), whereas the plastic helps to direct the heat. This combination of alternating between metal and plastic rings with different diffusion rates helps to move the IR heat signature around the objects central region and, therefore, makes the objects temperature that of its surrounding area. On the other hand, the heat can be directed into a single focal point (apparently for ‘uncloaking’). So far, the team has only been able to cloak objects that are micrometers in size so don’t expect to see a ‘cloaked’ human being anytime soon.