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A group of Pentagon-funded physicists says they have developed a “time cloak” that temporarily makes an event undetectable. According to the journal Nature, the prototype device manipulates the flow of light in such a way that, for a fraction of a second, an event cannot be seen. The research aims to create a next generation of camouflage in which specific colors cannot be seen by the human eye.

The project exploits the fact that frequencies of light move at fractionally different speeds. The so-called “spatio-temporal cloaking device” works by streaming a beam of green light along a fiber-optic cable, which goes through a two-way lends that splits the beam into two frequencies: a blueish light that travels relatively fast, and a slower reddish light.

This tiny difference in speed is then accentuated with a transparent obstacle in front of the two beams. Eventually, a time gap of just 50 picoseconds (50 millionths of a millionth of a second) opens up between the blue and red beams as they travel through the optical fiber. Although that time gap is very slim, it is long enough to squeeze in a pulse of laser with a different frequency.

After which, the red and blue light beams are treated reversely, passing through another obstable that speeds up the red light and slows down the blue. They come to a reverse lens that reconstitutes them as a single green light. However, the 40-picosecond burst of laser is not part of the flow of photon, making it undetectable by human eyes.

The researchers plan on expanding the time gap by orders of magnitude, firstly to microseconds and then to milliseconds.

Source: Interaksyon.com




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