Lewis Page at The Register walks us through the high points of a new development from France:
Top boffins in France have come up with a radical new take on the “cloaking” and invisible-shed physics breakthroughs of recent years. They have designed a technology which instead of bending microwaves or light can shield an object from heat — or concentrate heat upon it.
“Our key goal with this research was to control the way heat diffuses in a manner similar to those that have already been achieved for waves, such as light waves or sound waves,” says Sebastien Guenneau, of Aix-Marseille uni and France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CRNS).
“Heat isn’t a wave — it simply diffuses from hot to cold regions,” Guenneau adds. “The mathematics and physics at play are much different.”
For now designed only in two dimensions, Guenneau and his colleagues’ approach involved shaping isotherms — lines showing density of heat flux transferring from point — so as to make heat travel around a given area rather than into it.
“We can design a cloak so that heat diffuses around an invisibility region, which is then protected from heat. Or we can force heat to concentrate in a small volume, which will then heat up very rapidly,” Guenneau says.