Pentagon-sponsored scientists at Cornell University have invented a time cloaking device that makes an entire event invisible for a very short period of time.
According to a study published in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature, the new device interrupts the flow of light that reaches us from events for a fraction of a second, thus making them invisible for just an instant.
“Our results represent a significant step towards obtaining a complete spatio-temporal cloaking device,” says the study, led by Moti Fridman of Cornell University, which is located in Ithaca, New York.
The scientists have used a method to generate a lens of both light and time, which splits light, creating a gap where an event is masked. The gap, however, is tiny, just 50 picoseconds, or 50 trillionths of a second.
“You kind of create a hole in time where an event takes place,” said study co-author Alexander Gaeta, who is the director of Cornell’s School of Applied and Engineering Physics.
“You just don’t know that anything ever happened,” he added.
Researchers predict that the next step in the experiment is to extend the time gap in magnitude to microseconds and then to milliseconds.
The high-profile experiment aims to enhance next-generation camouflage — a so-called invisibility cloak which prevents the human eye from perceiving specific colors.
The research has been partly sponsored by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, which develops futuristic technology for military purposes.
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