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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Time Cloak Hides (Very Small) Events in Time


Time Cloak Hides (Very Small) Events in Time
You’ve probably seen this on your dashboard today, as a few of my science buds have covered it: “Time Cloak Can Make Time Disappear!” That’s very cool stuff, but what does it mean?
You might remember a few months ago when I posted about an “invisibility cloak” technology, where beams of light are bent around an object preventing it from reflecting (becoming invisible). There’s a video here. This new “time cloak” uses a special way of slowing down certain of wavelengths of light to do the same thing. Sort of. From SciAm:
The cloak, described in the January 5 issue of Nature, relies on the fact that light of different colors moves at different speeds through certain media. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.) Using a device that they call a “time lens,” the researchers split a single-color laser beam into a spread of wavelengths, then slowed half of those wavelengths while speeding up the others. That created a very brief time gap that could be closed again before the beam reached the detector by reversing the lensing process, restoring the beam to a single, seemingly undisturbed wavelength.
Very cool, with implications for computing (good and bad). But you know what’s better? ANIMATIONS!
Click above for a great video explanation of the time cloak, put together by Rose Eveleth. Make much more sense now.

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