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Hotter objects typically glow brighter than cooler ones, making them stand out in infrared images. But a newly designed coating bucks the rule that hotter equals brighter. For certain wavelengths of infrared light, the material’s brightness doesn’t change as it warms, researchers report December 17 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Made of samarium nickel oxide, the thin coating “hides temperature information of surfaces from infrared cameras,” and could therefore be used as a privacy shield, says applied physicist Mikhail Kats of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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