A thermal invisibility cloak prototype is expected later this year

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A thermal invisibility cloak prototype is expected later this year after French researchers apply the mathematics of transformation optics to equations for thermal diffusion.

A cloak that insulates objects from heat could aid in controlling heat in electronics and, on an even larger scale, the thermal management of spacecraft and solar technologies. The prototype researchers will build this year will be for microelectronics. Shielding nanoelectronic and microelectronic devices from overheating is one of the biggest challenges facing the electronics and semiconductor industries.

The cloak concept has been developed by researchers at the University of Aix-Marseille and France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CRNS). Researcher Sebastien Guenneau, who works with both the university and CRNS said: ‘We can design a cloak so that heat diffuses around an invisibility region, which is then protected from heat. Or we can force heat to concentrate in a small volume, which will then heat up very rapidly.’

Heat flows from a hot to a cool object through any region in space according to the magnitude of the heat flux. This space can be described as the distance between concentric rings of thermal diffusivity. Being able to alter the geometry of the these rings means the heat will go around rather than through a region, ensuring any object placed in that region is shielded.