Adaptive camouflage in thermal imaging, a form of cloaking technology capable of blending naturally into the surrounding environment, has been a great challenge in the past decades. Emissivity engineering for thermal camouflage is regarded as a more promising way compared to merely temperature controlling that has to dissipate a large amount of excessive heat. However, practical devices with an active modulation of emissivity have yet to be well explored. In this letter we demonstrate an active cloaking device capable of efficient thermal radiance control, which consists of a vanadium dioxide (VO2) layer, with a negative differential thermal emissivity, coated on a graphene/carbon nanotube (CNT) thin film. A slight joule heating drastically changes the emissivity of the device, achieving rapid switchable thermal camouflage with a low power consumption and excellent reliability. It is believed that this device will find wide applications not only in artificial systems for infrared camouflage or cloaking but also in energy-saving smart windows and thermo-optical modulators.
Keywords: Vanadium dioxide; carbon nanotube; graphene; infrared; thermal camouflage.