Scientists Punch a Hole in the Fabric of Time with a "Time Cloak"

What a preposterous world we live in, where developments in invisibility cloak tech are common enough to elicit yawns. Fine, you unmovable automatons, how about a time cloak? Is that something you might be interested in?

Researchers at Cornell have designed, built and demonstrated the first "cloak" that hides events in time. 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. [Tech Review via Hacker News]


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