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A thermal cloaking technique that can hide warm objects from infrared cameras has been proposed by researchers in France, the US, and the UK. Fernando Guevara Vasquez at the University of Utah and colleagues have calculated that thermal cloaking can be achieved by surrounding objects with rings of tiny heat pumps that absorb and re-emit heat. Although further work is needed to demonstrate the technique in the lab, it could lead to better ways of protecting electrical circuits from heat damage.

Invisibility cloaking of objects has received much attention in recent years. It usually involves using advanced metamaterials to smoothly guide electromagnetic radiation around an opaque object so that the object does not appear to disturb the radiation – thereby rendering the object invisible to an observer.

Now, Guevara Vasquez and colleagues have considered an alternative approach for thermal cloaking that involves actively manipulating infrared radiation in the vicinity of the object to be cloaked. This involves absorbing infrared light using heat sinks and emitting it using thermal sources.

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