Cloaked in adventure

Researcher stretching meta skin material in the lab

An invisibility cloak might sound like something you'd only find at Hogwarts. But before too long, you just might see something like it at Iowa State. Or not see it, depending on how you look at it. That's because Iowa State researchers Liang Dong and Jiming Song are working on technology that could someday make a microwave invisibility cloak for stealth aircraft a reality.

Along with assistance from Iowa State students, they've developed a flexible, stretchable, and tunable "meta-skin" that uses rows of small liquid-metal devices to cloak objects from radar by reducing the reflection of a wide range of radar frequencies. This makes it different from traditional stealth technologies that only reduce the power reflected back to a probing radar. It also makes the meta-skin one step closer to helping conceal aircraft entirely.

Dong, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Song, professor of electrical and computer engineering, are continuing to develop meta-skin materials that could continue to change the world of stealth technology. "The long-term goal is to shrink the size of these devices," Dong said. "Then, hopefully, we can do this with higher frequency electromagnetic waves." Which could help produce a form of meta-skin that might someday coat the surface of stealth aircraft to make them invisible to radar devices of all kinds.

No matter if they're advancing technology for stealth aircraft or conducting vaccine research that's changing the world, one thing's for sure. At Iowa State, our adventurous minds don't fly under the radar. They soar where everyone can see. And Iowa State students get to fly high and learn right alongside them.

Learn about other Cyclones and their adventures and nominate a Cyclone whose adventure story needs to be shared.