American physicists and engineers have developed a metamaterial that makes any underwater object “transparent” to sound waves and invisible to sonar. They presented their project at the annual meeting of the American acoustical society in Washington, RIA Novosti reported.
“Such materials, when we start talking about them, often appear to be solely an abstract idea that cannot be put into practice. On the other hand, the math shows that all of these properties is very real. Now we are creating these materials and trying to understand what opportunities they may provide to us”,— said Amanda Hanford (Hanford Amanda) from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (USA).
In recent years, scientists are actively studying the properties of so-called metamaterials — artificial structures from many individual pieces or nanoparticles, capable of an unusual way to interact with light. Metamaterials, physics today believe will form the basis of ultrafast light of future computers and other futuristic gadgets.
Strictly speaking, metamaterials are not a human invention — like them crystals and structures found on the wings of many butterflies have metallic coloring, the shells of many other insects, the wings of birds and even the famous blue folds on faces of baboons-the mandrill.
The experiments of the last ten years show that metamaterials can be configured so that they will begin to interact not only with light and his closest “cousins” — thermal, x-ray or ultraviolet radiation and even magnetic fields, as well as to generate interesting quantum effects that physicists call “crystals of time”.
As noted Hanford, scientists have created dozens of such structures, which is reflected or passed through the sound waves, but they only work outdoors. Acoustic “cloaks of invisibility”, working in the water, to create much harder, because water is much denser and it does not compress, unlike air.
American engineers managed to solve this problem, going a slightly different way — their metamaterial does not pass through the sound waves and reflects them in such a way that the observer feels that he is looking at a flat sea bottom, river or ocean.
Its structure is like a pyramid height in meters, covered with numerous steel plates with many holes, which absorb and convert acoustic vibrations. Scientists believe that the size of this structure and its structure can be easily changed in the future that will protect the objects on the seabed from the high-frequency vibrations and conceal submarines and submersibles from sonar.
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