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Out of sight

Invisibility cloaks are no longer the stuff of science fiction. Plus, will we find dark matter this year?

By Philip Ball   March 2011

When the first “invisibility shield” was created in 2006, the joke was that it looked like anything but: a set of nested circular plastic strips imprinted with metal foil, it was conspicuously not what it seemed to claim. The catch was that the device made objects placed in its centre invisible only to microwaves, not visible light. To work at visible wavelengths (which are much shorter), the components of the shield—the little printed foil circuits—needed to be too small to see, and so very tricky to make. Harry Potter’s cloak seemed a long way off.

But this exotic corner of…

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