Real-Life “Invisibility Coat”: Science Fiction Becoming Reality with Advanced Electronic Materials

03 Nov 2022

The electronics industry is a dynamic sector since there has been a constant evolution in its business models, products, technologies, and materials used to adapt to changing customer needs. The industry has seen a significant increase in innovation because of the increased need for electronic products that are compact, faster, efficient, and sustainable. 

Over the last few decades, the electronics businesses have expanded significantly to keep up with the rapid rate of expansion in the digital space. More and more advanced electronic materials utilized in the electronics industry are manufactured using cutting-edge materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, silicones, and others. Sensors, thermal products, printed electronics, and other devices all can benefit from the use of these materials.

The electronics business has a significant impact on a variety of sectors, including healthcare, the automotive industry, education, and entertainment. Almost every element of contemporary life makes use of one or more of the items created by the electronics sector. 

In addition to these more traditional uses for electronic materials, sectors such as the fashion industry are now also making use of these advanced electronic materials in novel ways that were never imagined before.

The Story

Scientists from the clothing company, Vollebak, which focuses on science and technology, claim that by developing a garment that renders people invisible, they will soon transform science fiction into a stylish new fashion.

The U.K.-based company unveiled new technology that uses the flexible, transparent, and extremely conductive substance graphene to render people invisible to infrared cameras.

A thermal jacket prototype created by Vollebak and the University of Manchester may lead to the development of a brand-new kind of camouflage.

The company's website stated that the jacket is the "first step" in developing technology that will bring invisibility from a concept seen on the big screen to the streets, even though it won't be on the rack of a department shop any time soon.

The computer-programmable jacket features 42 graphene patches consisting of 100 layers of pure graphene, which is a material that can alter depending on how much energy is delivered to it on the infrared and visible spectrums.

The Vollebak team wrote on its website, "So theoretically, at least, changing the charge density of the graphene will affect the color we observe."

By inserting gold and copper wires into each patch that may have varying voltages applied to them, these patches can be individually programmed to emit varying degrees of thermal radiation without changing the temperature of the actual jacket.

According to Vollebak, the voltage uses ionic liquid to push ions between the graphene layers. By moving fewer ions, less heat radiation is released, giving the impression that it is colder.

This is significant because in order to look "invisible," the warm temperature must be concealed, but it must be done so in a form that can be worn. Because each patch on the jacket can be independently programmed to emit a varied amount of thermal radiation, it may be made to blend in and seem invisible to infrared cameras.

The researchers claimed that "the jacket is the first step towards an invisibility cloak because you can program entire areas of it to just disappear in infrared."
In the following ten years, according to Vollebak, it intends to advance the technique and reduce the size of the graphene pixels, which it believes will enable it to conceal "anything."

What else is in store for advanced electronic materials? 

Without advanced electronic materials, the market for electronic materials and chemicals could not have grown as it has. Apart from graphene, several other advanced fibers and composites such as silicon carbide (SiC), carbon nanotubes, indium-gallium-zinc oxide (a-IGZO), yttrium oxide (Y2O3), and gallium nitride (GaN) have made it possible for manufacturers to innovate and develop energy-efficient, electronic products with high computation power, data speed, and connectivity.

For instance, the demand for smaller, faster, and more reliable devices has led to the adoption of wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors globally. As gallium nitride (GaN) is the new wide bandgap material that is proliferating fast in the semiconductor industry, it has created a possibility to replace silicon materials with GaN. Reliability, compact size, high efficiency, quick switching speed, and temperature range are some of the essential characteristics of GaN materials that have influenced its market adoption.

In comparison to current silicon-based devices, WBG semiconductors are able to operate at higher voltages and higher temperatures and support high switching frequencies. This means that they have a large potential to match the performance requirements of new equipment and devices.

Moreover, due to several factors, such as applications of GaN in electric vehicles to increase efficiency, continuous technological advancement in the GaN ecosystem, and the suitability of GaN in radio frequency (RF) applications,  the gallium nitride market is expected to grow significantly.  

Therefore, market experts believe that GaN has properties that can sweep silicon off the market.


The possibility of a scientifically working “invisible coat” is just one example, and advanced electronic materials are proving to be the core of innovation and efficiency across industries. As future investments and research activities expand, it is anticipated that the scope and application of advancements in electronic materials will grow even more. 

Interested to know more about the growing technologies in your industry vertical? Get the latest market studies and insights from BIS Research. Connect with us at [email protected]  to learn and understand more.


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