London: In a first, scientists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have made an object disappear by using a material with nano-size particles that can enhance specific properties on the object's surface. Researchers from QMUL's school of electronic engineering and computer science demonstrated for the first time a practical cloaking device that allows curved surfaces to appear flat to electromagnetic waves. While the research might not lead to the invisibility cloak made famous in JK Rowling's Harry Potter novels quite yet, this practical demonstration could result in a step-change in how antennas are tethered to their platform. It could allow for antennas in different shapes and sizes to be attached in awkward places and a wide variety of materials. “The design is based upon transformation optics, a concept behind the idea of the invisibility cloak,” said study co-author professor Yang Hao. Previous research has shown this technique working at one frequency. “However, we can demonstrate that it works at a greater range of frequencies making it more useful for other engineering applications, such as nano-antennas and the aerospace industry,” Hao noted. The underlying design approach has much wider applications, ranging from microwave to optics for the control of any kind of electromagnetic surface waves. “The manipulation of surface waves is the key to develop technological and industrial solutions in the design of real-life platforms, for different application fields,” added first author Dr Luigi La Spada.