Nanotubes Could Allow Spaceships to Disappear

Although Klingon style disappearing spaceships may not be in our neighborhood any time soon, the technology that could allow a spaceship to vanish from sight may be here now. Scientists from the University of Michigan have successfully made a three-dimensional etched silicon image of a tank appear as a featureless black void, that completely blended in with the backdrop surrounding it. The secret is carbon nanotubes. When we see an object, it’s because it scatters and reflects light that strikes it, the more that an object obstructs incoming light, the more visible that object is. It turns out that a coating of low-density aligned carbon nanotubes, however, allows light to pass into it with little more resistance than that light experiences when

moving through the air. This means little of the light is scattered or reflected, with most of it instead being essentially absorbed.

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