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New Device Hides, on Cue, from Infrared Cameras

Published: November 26, 2012.
Released by Harvard University  

Cambridge, Mass. - November 26, 2012 - Now you see it, now you don't. A new device invented at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) can absorb 99.75% of infrared light that shines on it. When activated, it appears black to infrared cameras. Composed of just a 180-nanometer-thick layer of vanadium dioxide (VO2) on top of a sheet of sapphire, the device reacts to temperature changes by reflecting dramatically more or less infrared light.

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More news from Harvard University

Perfect Colors, Captured with One Ultra-thin Lens
Cambridge, Mass. - February 19, 2015 - Most lenses are, by definition, curved. After all, they are named for their resemblance to lentils, and a glass lens made flat is just a window with no special powers. But a new type of lens created at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) turns conventional optics on its head.

Preventing Greenhouse Gas from Entering the Atmosphere
A novel class of materials that enable a safer, cheaper, and more energy-efficient process for removing greenhouse gas from power plant emissions has been developed by a multi-institution team of researchers. The approach could be an important advance in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS).

Cooperation, Considered
Aside from the obvious, what is it that separates Mother Theresa from Sean Penn? Both have tried to perform charitable acts - Mother Theresa worked for decades in the slums of Calcutta and Penn was among those who traveled to New Orleans to rescue victims of Hurricane Katrina. But while Mother Theresa is today recognized as a near saint, Penn was widely mocked for bringing an entourage - including his publicist and personal photographer - to document the rescues.

Boston's Leaky Pipes Release High Levels of Heat-trapping Methane
Cambridge, Mass. - January 22, 2015 - Imagine if every time you filled your car with gas, a few gallons didn't make it into the tank and instead spilled onto the ground. That's essentially what happens every day with the aging system of underground pipes and tanks that delivers natural gas to Boston-area households and businesses, with adverse economic, public health, and environmental consequences. Now a group of atmospheric scientists at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has produced hard numbers…

The Biological Spoils of War
Violent conflict may, under certain conditions, offer a biological benefit to those who take part in it, a Harvard study has found.

Hands On: Crafting Ultrathin Color Coatings
In a sub-basement deep below the Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering at Harvard University, Mikhail Kats gets dressed. Mesh shoe covers, a face mask, a hair net, a pale gray jumpsuit, knee-high fabric boots, vinyl gloves, safety goggles, and a hood with clasps at the collar--these are not to protect him, Kats explains, but to protect the delicate equipment and materials inside the cleanroom.

A Pill for Obesity?
Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital have taken what they are describing as "the first step toward a pill that can replace the treadmill" for the control of obesity - though it of course would not provide all the additional benefits of exercise.

Pain in a Dish
After more than six years of intensive effort, and repeated failures that made the quest at times seem futile, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) and Harvard's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) have successfully converted mouse and human skin cells into pain sensing neurons that respond to a number of stimuli that cause acute and inflammatory pain.

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