Anti-exorcist engineers create ghosts but not in a killing kind of way

Generally speaking most of us would choose to exorcise ghosts but there are scientists who are working to create them as a Feb. 19, 2013 news item on ScienceDaily notes,

A team at the NUS [National University of Singapore] Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering led by Dr Qiu Cheng-Wei has come out with an optical device to “engineer” ghosts.

When someone claims he or she has seen a ghost, the phenomenon may be caused by an optical illusion happening through a wild stroke of nature. But the actual engineering of such a phenomenon is the holy grail of researchers in the field of optical illusions, electromagnetic, and radar detection — not only because of the thrill and excitement of being able to create a “ghost” but because of the implications it will have in science and applications.

Their research has opened up a completely new avenue for cognitive deception through light-matter behaviour control. [emphasis mine] This would have wide applications in defence and security. Their findings will also pave the way for the design of new optical and microwave devices such as those for detection and communication. The team will further develop this technique to make larger microwave devices to achieve radar “ghosts” and aircraft camouflage suitable for defence purpose.

Dr Qiu’s paper, co-authored with and Dr Han Tiancheng (NUS Dept of Electrical & Computer Engineering), Prof Tie Jun Cui, Dr Wei Xiang Jiang (State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves, Department of Radio Engineering, Nanjing), and Prof Shuang Zhang (School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Birmingham, UK), entitled “Creation of Ghost Illusions Using Metamaterials in Wave Dynamics” will be published in Advanced Functional Materials in March 2013.

…  Dr Qiu’s device can create multiple “ghosts.” It can also make the real object or person “disappear.” The researchers can also determine how the “ghosts” look, taking on a different shape or size from the actual object.

I would imagine that magicians and con artists everywhere would also be very interested in ‘creating ghosts’ and ‘disappearing’. In fact, this might have applications in the fields of design and architecture. What if you could create a beautiful view by making a series of parking lots and dull concrete buildings disappear and replacing them with ‘ghost mountains or beaches’? No doubt this thinking is so wishful it could be described as science fiction at this time. Still, it is amusing to speculate.

For those with more practical interests, you can get the full citation for the forthcoming published study from the ScienceDaily news item or you can preview an earlier version of the article at (open access),

Creation of Ghost Illusions Using Metamaterials in Wave Dynamics by Weixiang Jiang, Cheng-Wei Qiu, Tiancheng Han, Shuang Zhang, Tiejun Cui (Submitted on 16 Jan 2013) > physics > arXiv:1301.3710

Happily, there’s a more or less song-appropriate choice for this work about creating ghosts, Exorcising Ghosts. Here’s the promo for the song,

You can find John Piccari performing his entire song here,

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