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From the 'X-Files': Radical Technology Creates a "Hole in Time" to Mask Real Events


Cornell University scientists demonstrate how they have have created, a new invisibility technique that masks an entire event by briefly bending the speed of light around an event. This 2011 illustration above shows art thief can walking into a museum and stealing a painting without setting of laser beam alarms or even showing up on surveillance cameras--not only is the thief is invisible - his whole event is. Think of it as a hole in the fabric of time.

The time cloak created by scientists at Cornell University lasts an incredibly tiny fraction of a fraction of a second, hiding an event for 40 picoseconds (trillionths of a second), according to a study appearing in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.

The Cornell team alters not where the light flows but how fast it moves, changing in the dimension of time, not space. They morphed  the speed of beams of light in a way that would make it appear to surveillance cameras or laser security beams that an event isn't happening --in effect editing or erasing a split second of history.

The scientists created a lens of not just light, but time by spliting light and speeding up one part of light and slowing down another, creating a gap. This gap or hole in time where an event is masked. 

"You kind of create a hole in time where an event takes place," said study co-author Alexander Gaeta, director of Cornell's School of Applied and Engineering Physics. "You just don't know that anything ever happened."

It is the first time that scientists have been able to mask an event in time, a concept only first theorized by Martin McCall, a professor of theoretical optics at Imperial College in London. Gaeta, Fridman and others at Cornell, who had already been working on time lenses, decided to see if they could do what McCall envisioned.

"It is significant because it opens up a whole new realm to ideas involving invisibility," McCall said.

The Daily Galaxy via nature.com and Associated Press

Image credit: AP Photo/Heather Deal, Cornell University


How do you speed up light??

Here's a link to a much better article about the same event.


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That's right Jennifer, and with this new technology, you and your true love can meet OUTSIDE OF TIME.

@Chris Hanes: This is par for Daily Galaxy writing. I appreciate that they dig out good material, but they don't seem to understand that writing about science requires precision. I've offered to proofread, but no response. I like the site because it contains pointers, such as you provided, to real articles.

Again I get the horribly eerie feeling when I postulate something in my novels, and then it appears in the real world. (A device that warps time plays a small but pivotal role in the story.)

Turning back to the real world, this also makes me wonder if this couldn't be a factor in the Alcubierre drive. The principle of that drive is warping time and space for de facto FTL travel, so this would be a step, however miniscule, in the right direction.

@Gerry and Levi-Q: Well said.

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