This Fall 2020 Berkeley Engineer magazine cover story is a good old-fashioned cool-science story: A curious researcher innovating with a material that has some unusual properties.
For another application, instead of increasing the visibility of objects in thermal scanning, Wu hides them. Thermal camouflage technologies — evading the detection of night vision goggles, for example — already exist, conjuring spy-versus-spy covert operations with obvious appeal for military and other surveillance and counter-surveillance applications. But they’re still clumsy, require energy input to work and have rigid, cumbersome structures. They also have glitches — when a hidden object’s temperature changes, it becomes momentarily visible while the devices adjust. The vanadium dioxide-based system is “power-free, monolithic and mechanically flexible,”...and continues to work even when the target object’s temperature surges. Read more.