Nanostructured electron cloak

Invisibility cloaks

Invisibility cloaks are used to hide objects from electromagnetic waves and are made from metamaterials.  Metamaterials are artificial structures with special optical properties such as negative refractive indices arranged in such a way that incoming light waves can flow smoothly around the cloak and meet on the other side as if the cloak was not present.

Electron cloak

Electrons normally travel as waves over a certain distance before scattering destroys their wave phases over coherent transport length and the particles exhibit characteristic wave behaviour, such as amplitude superposition or interference. The principle of Invisibility cloaks can be applied to electrons made of core-shell nanoparticle structures embedded in a host semiconductor that does not disturb the flow of electrons.

Researchers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a method to make an electron cloak, or an object that is invisible to electrons and made of a nanostructure that is around the same size as the wavelength of electrons themselves which is around 10 nm.

According to the researchers the electron cloak design which has the core-shell nanoparticles essentially provide multiple interfaces where electron waves are reflected. Through careful tuning of the interfaces, the multiple reflected waves from the interfaces can be made to destructively interfere with each other and cancel the total reflection almost perfectly. The electron waves with the correct energy can travel through the nanoparticle structure without being reflected, as if there was nothing in their way.


Such electron cloaks may find use in applications where high electron mobility is required, such as in semiconductor electronics, to make novel electronic devices such as switches that go from the visible to invisible states and even help develop better thermoelectric materials for improved energy harvesting and conversion.


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