If you’re a nerd, any type of nerd, you know a thing or two about invisibility, maybe even about space-time. The Pentagon and a team from Cornell have made strides in both, hiding a point in space entirely.
Before this, scientists have had pretty good luck with cloaking objects: A team at the University of St. Andrews used metamaterials to hide objects from human eyes and researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have used the mirage effect to wipe objects from view.
Here’s an example of the now primitive mirage effect at work:
But now, a team at Cornell University working with Darpa (the Pentagon’s research arm that seems adept at breaking the sci-fi/reality boundary) has learned to mask an entire event. According to an article the team published in Nature, scientists were able to create what they called a “time-hole” to mask a tiny piece of the space-time continuum completely.
Granted, it was a very tiny piece inside a fiber optic cable and the entire event lasted for only 40 picoseconds (trillionths of a second), but, humans have successfully wiped an occurrence out of reality as it occurred. Researchers passed a beam of green light down the cable where it moved through a lens and split into two frequencies. At the same time, they shot a red laser through the beams. As the laser passed between the gap in frequencies (“time-hole”) it became imperceptible.
One day, we may never hear about entire military operations being conducted in the space between two frequencies of light. More immediate use for the technology will probably be to mask communications (they’ve already got it in a fiber optic cable, after all). What would you do in a time-hole?
Creative Commons Love: i k o on Flickr.com