Spanish researchers have designed what they believe to be a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external magnetic fields, while at the same time preventing any magnetic internal fields from leaking outside, making the cloak undetectable. The development of such a device, described as an ‘antimagnet’, could offer many beneficial applications, such as protecting a ship’s hull from mines designed to detonate when a magnetic field is detected, or allowing patients with pacemakers or cochlear implants to use medical equipment.
In their study, published today, Friday 23 September, in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics, researchers have proved that such a cloak could be built using practical and available materials and technologies, and used to develop an array of applications. Take, for example, a patient with a pacemaker undergoing an MRI scan. If an MRI’s large magnetic field interacts with the pacemaker, it can cause serious damage to both the device and the patient. The metal in the pacemaker could also interact with and distort the MRI’s large magnetic field, affecting the machine’s detection capabilities.