Nano-enabled Coating Makes Aircraft Invisible

Humble paint once again shows the way towards commercial applications in nanotechnology


No, we're not talking about a Wonder Woman-type of invisible plane, but rather one that becomes very difficult to detect with radar.

The Israel-based Ynetnews is reporting that an Israeli company called Nanoflight has successfully run a test on dummy missiles that were painted with the nano-enabled coating and have shown that radar could not pick them up as missiles.

The YnetNews article rather brutally points out that painting an aircraft with this nanocoating is far cheaper than buying a $5 billion US-made stealth aircraft. Of course, it should also be noted that one sale of a $5 billion aircraft employs a large number of aeronautical engineers, and the high price tag also makes it far more difficult for others to purchase the technology and possess the ability to sneak up on an enemy as well.

The nanocoating achieves its radar trickery by absorbing the radio waves emitted by the radar and scattering them as heat energy enough so that when the radar gets the bounced back signal it is not regular enough to indicate an object.

It seems that nano-enabled paint is the way towards commercial success in nanotechnology as I discovered at London conference a couple of years ago in which a number of projects producing exotic nanomaterials were trotted out but only one company that actually made a nano-enabled product: a paint.

Nanoflight appears pretty far along in its development process as well. A spokesman for Nanoflight, Eli Shaldag, is quoted in the article indicating that the company is in the second stage of its development process after which they will be able to produce the coating in larger quantities.

The company also sees an opportunity to use the material on the soldiers to make them invisible to infrared and night-vision goggles.

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IEEE Spectrum’s nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.