Invisibility cloak
The cloak is capable of hiding objects from heat.

The world's first "invisibility cloak" capable of hiding objects from heat has been unveiled by French and German researchers.

The prototype cloak features a 5cm-wide flat area at its centre which was impervious to the heat flowing around it, researchers said.

It is manufactured using a copper and silicone composite known as PDMS. The technology could be put to use in electronics, while similar research is under way to make objects invisible to light and sound waves.

"If you follow a ring around, you can follow those areas of high conductivity, but if you go toward the centre you are repeatedly blocked by a layer of low conductivity," explained Robert Schittny of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, who is the lead author of the study.

"You can see that it's easier for the heat to just travel around this object than travel toward the centre," he told the BBC.

The "garment" channels heat flow around the cloak's centre using alternating rings made from the two materials. The theory behind it was outlined in by French researchers in 2012.

The technology does not merely insulate the cloak's centre from heat, but makes it appear not to be there at all.

"You want the heat flow to look as if there were no disturbance at all in the middle, and basically if you want to guide the heat around the central part, it takes a detour, a longer time to go around there," Schittny added.

"Each ring is made so that it specifically compensates exactly this detour that the heat has to make."

Schittny said the work could be applied to electronics, cooling or energy systems.

"We were all surprised by how well the theoretical simulations and the experimental results in the end agreed," he said.