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Friday, July 15, 2011

Scientists punch hole in time to cloak stuff in

Wasn't this the kind of thing that the DHARMA Initiative was playing with on that mysterious Island? We all know how great that turned out, huh?

Some thinkin' dudes at Cornell University have torn a hole in time itself. The result is a "time cloak" that hides events from being observed by the rest of the universe.

From the article at Gizmodo...

The process relies on similar methods of distorting electromagnetic fields as invisibility cloaks, but it exploits a time-space duality in electromagnetic theory: diffraction and dispersion of light in space are mathematically equivalent. Scientists have used this theory to create a "time-lens [that] can, for example, magnify or compress in time".

The time cloak takes two of those lenses and arranges them so that one compresses a beam of light while the other decompresses it. That leaves the beam seemingly unchanged, but the diffraction and dispersion actually "cloak" small events in the beam's timeline. Right now, the cloak can only last for 120 nanoseconds, and the theoretical max for the current design measures just microseconds. But the prospect of being able to exist outside of time, even for just a few microseconds, should be enough to make even the most jaded tech nerd giggle at the possibilities.

120 nanoseconds isn't much but that such a thing can be done for any length of time is pretty interesting no matter how ya look at it. Maybe when it can be made to last much longer I can invest in one: 'twould be the perfect spot in which to hide from the IRS! :-P