Thursday, January 3, 2013

Time Cloak

by abelchen777, This post originally appeared at Function of a Rubber Duck.

Previously, there was a post on this blog about a real life invisibility cloak being made. But now, science has moved on. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you… the TIME CLOAK!! With this piece of technology, you will be able to not only conceal what you are doing, but also the fact that you are doing anything at all! Well, maybe not yet, because as of January 2012, the gap that you would have to work with is very, very small: only about 40 trillionths of a second. So, you won’t be able to do much, yet. But history has shown that technology is the fastest evolving industry ever. Why, I’m sure in no time you’ll be able to take an extra hour for lunch without anyone knowing about it.
Enough with the applications. Let’s see how this time cloak works. The experiment conducted at Cornell University used something called a time lens, which alters the speed of a beam of light, to split a beam of light so that one piece would gain a lead on the other, creating a gap of darkness between the two fragments. Any activity done during this gap, for example shooting a laser beam across the beam of light, would be undetected to an  independent observer. This observer could never have known that the laser beam was ever shot.
After the cloaked event has happened, the time lens would bring together the light beam fragments so that it reunified at its end point. No one would know it had split apart, nor would they know what had happened.
Some of you may wonder what the difference is between the invisibility cloak and the time cloak. Here it is. The invisibility cloak merely causes waves to bend around an object, and has nothing to do with time. The time cloak, however, cloaks not just the object, but what the object is doing as well. It’s extremely different from an invisibility cloak.
The man behind this particular experiment, Alexander Gaeta, says, “This is just the first step. There needs to be another 100,000 steps before you can create a full spatial time cloak that can hide people.” So don’t worry too much about bank robbers or terrorists using a time cloak, unless they are as small as a laser beam and can finish the act within 40 trillionths of a second.

About this contributor: abelchen777 is a grade 11 student with a special passion for mathematics. He also enjoys playing badminton, soccer, and reading both fiction and non-fiction books. His favourite field of science is quantum physics.

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