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Published on : Jun 25, 2018

In combat operations, infrared cameras are the ones that help drones locate their targets be it pitch dark or heavy fog. A newly developed cloaking material could make it easy to hide from the heat-sensing eyes of infrared cameras. The ultrathin stealth sheet renders people and objects practically invisible.

Highlighted in the current week’s research journal Advanced Engineering Materials, the ultrathin stealth sheet offers significant improvements over alternate heat-masking technologies. As a matter of fact, warm objects like tank engines or human body emit heat as infrared light. The new cloaking material is advantageous in terms of weight, cost and ease of use.

Cloaking Material Absorbs Tremendous Light to Conceal Underneath Objects

The thickness of the sheet which is less than one millimeter absorbs close to 94 percent of the infrared light that it hits. As the cloaking material absorbs tremendous amount of light, warm objects beneath the sheet become almost completely hidden to infrared detectors.

Importantly, the cloaking material can absorb light in the mid and long infrared wavelength spectrum, which is typically the light emitted by objects close to human body temperature. Moreover, researchers have added electronic heating elements into the stealth sheets to create high-tech concealment to trick infrared cameras.

Using the cloaking material, an infrared detector can be deceived by putting forth a false heat signature. It could disguise a tank by making it look like a simple highway guardrail. The team of researchers used a distinctive black material called silicon, which is commonly used in solar cells, to trap infrared light. Due to the presence of millions of microscopic needles that appear like a densely packed forest, black silicon absorbs light.