A Utah company has developed a flexible shielding material that could be used to prevent spying or even as a defense against an electromagnetic pulse weapon (EMP). The material is made of layers of nickel and carbon. It can disperse energy like a traditional metal cage, but it is also thin and durable enough to be used as wallpaper or fabric.
The flexible, conductive material can be used to make Faraday cages—grounded metal enclosures that shield their contents from electrostatic and electromagnetic influences. It can hide a device’s radio emissions to deter intentional electronic eavesdropping or simply to prevent data loss from lightning strikes. The material can line a small case or be used on a larger scale, as wallpaper to make an entire room for secure communications. In addition to keeping secrets on devices, another possible application is protecting drones against electronic attack. The military could even use the material to protect essential systems against a future EMP attack, during which an enemy uses a burst of electromagnetic energy to disable communications, damage electronic equipment, or even disrupt the electrical grid.