Star Trek has finally met its match in real life with the U. S. Air Force's revelation of a new stealth technology that works as effectively as the "cloaking devices" used by Captain Kirk's nemesis, the Klingons. Officially announced, the X-86b is the world's first truly invisible airplane, according to the Air Force information office*. While most details of its operation are still classified, it has been confirmed that it uses a large array of carefully-modulated dark-emitting diodes "DEDs" to render the craft invisible to the naked eye.
Fig.1: A photo taken just outside Groom Lake of an aircraft reputed to be the X-86b ďDED JetĒ displays a stealthy profile.
DEDs consist of a small semiconductor chip with a P/N junction coupled to an embedded quantum vacuum cavity. When reverse-biased, the cavity absorbs photons proportionally to the current flow through the junction. For more information, see the article "Zener-enhanced Dark Emitting Diodes (ZeDEDs) deliver 10X more Dark per Watt" in this issue.
Although dark-emitting diodes (DEDs) have been manufactured for nearly three decades, their low efficiency and relatively narrow photonic absorption bands limited their use for anything beyond a handful of applications such as power off indicators and active camouflage systems, such as handheld "darklights" and so-called "stealth suits used by some special forces squadrons for covert operations. There have also been persistent rumors about "cloaking devices" for military vehicles, and the long-rumored "DED Jet", believed to be in development since the early 1990's at the Air Force's Advanced Technology Center, located in Groom Lake, Nevada.
The DED Jet's existence was confirmed for the first time yesterday by Pentagon officials, just prior to a hastily-arranged press conference with YoYo Dyne Propulsion Systems, a prime contractor for the project, based in historic Grovers Mill, NJ. In addition to the embarrassment it caused the Pentagon, the incident forced YoYo Dyne to prematurely announce a line of advanced darkness emitters, based on the company's new Zener-enhanced DED technology. Officials of the Grovers Mill NJ-based technology firm apologized for the sudden announcement of the ZeDED yesterday evening which caught the industry by complete surprise. "We'd been planning on introducing our new ZeDEDs at LightFair next month," said John F. Cutbait, Chief Product Evangelist at YoYo Dyne. "Unfortunately, we had to change plans when the stealth aircraft we've been working on with the Air Force hit the news yesterday afternoon" he concluded.
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