A Chinese research team from Southeast University in Nanjing
have announced that they have found a way to change the way radar waves interact with an object. Researchers Wei Xiang Jiang
and Tie Jun Cui
used advanced metamaterials, sometimes used to guide light in unique ways, to similarly guide radio waves, thus changing how the object appeared in a radar scan. The New Scientist explains the experiment:
Copper conducts electricity well and reflects incoming radio waves, giving it a bright radar signature. To alter this behaviour, the team built a device made of 11 concentric rings of circuit boards etched with small metal-lined channels that prevent electromagnetic waves reflecting away. Instead, they guide the waves in a direction that the researchers choose specifically to make the hidden object appear to have different electrical properties.
Many of you are probably saying, "so what?" Admittedly, it's not very exciting in and of itself that some guys were able to make copper look like porcelain to radar. But then one of the researchers says the magic words that will make your ears prick up.
Similar illusion devices could eventually be used for stealth technology: for example, to "convert the radar image of an aircraft into a flying bird", Cui says.
There's the payoff.