Monday, July 18, 2011
For the first time, a device has created a "hole in time" -- for a few nanoseconds anyway.
The theoretical possibility of an "event cloak" -- a metamaterial space-time device that could theoretically conceal an entire event in time from the view of an outsider -- has been written about for years. And while some bright minds have been talking about bending space-time to their whims, a team at Cornell was doing it. And it works. For 110 nanoseconds.
Basically, you need two time-lenses -- lenses that can compress and decompress light in time. This is actually possible to do using an electro-optic modulator (what, you don't have one?). Two of these modulators can slow down or compress the light traveling through the first lens; a second lens downrange from the first can then decompress, or accelerate, the incoming photons from the first lens.