UPDATE 8/13/2008 at 7:58 AM: Here is a follow-up article at BBC that provides some additional information on this topic… Invisibility cloak ‘step closer’. And here is the original article by Xiang Zhang in Nature… Three-dimensional optical metamaterial with a negative refractive index (there is a fee to access the entire article in Nature).
Original Posting on 8/11/2008
This is a huge step forward.
From FoxNews.com (excerpt and link)…
People can see objects because they scatter the light that strikes them, reflecting some of it back to the eye. Cloaking uses materials, known as metamaterials, to deflect radar, light or other waves around an object, like water flowing around a smooth rock in a stream.
Metamaterials are mixtures of metal and circuit board materials such as ceramic, Teflon or fiber composite. They are designed to bend visible light in a way that ordinary materials don’t. Scientists are trying to use them to bend light around objects so they don’t create reflections or shadows.