A Time Cloak which can bend time to hide real events has been discovered. Since even last year this technology has come on tenfold enabling real events in time to be hidden. Sci-fi enthusiasts first saw it on Star Trek, Star Wars and Bond. Usually in the movies however objects were cloaked, we can now cloak not just events but also tenths of a millisecond of events in time itself.
Cornell University last year made the first time cloaking breakthrough concealing an object in time. This week Purdue Uni have succeeded in hiding not just an object but a real time event in a “time cloak also.”
This week Purdue University scientists reported that they have improved on the “temporal cloaking” technique in a way that might lead to real applications, such as securing data transmitted through optical fibers aiding stealth telecommunication.
This technology has only been recently found however previously a time cloak hid a single event for only 50 trillionths of a second. The new cloak is now able to hide approximately 12 billion of these 50trillionth second occurrences making portions of even a communication or proceeding invisible and inaudible to an eavesdropper.
Andrew Weiner from Purdue college quotes – “Our work is, to my knowledge, the second experiment in the temporal cloaking field,”. “In temporal cloaking, we’re still talking about the control of the flow of light. But rather than steering it around spatial objects, we’re steering it forward and backward in time so it doesn’t overlap with events that happen in time.”
Sound confusing? Perhaps a bit like a magic trick with mirrors? Not so. This trick is based on immutable fundamental laws of physics. Light carries information from point A to point B. It shines on objects, and our eyes perceive the details of these objects as it diverts back to us. If light were somehow bent around an object, that object would become invisible. That is what the time cloak does.
Light also has a special relationship to time: Since light has speed, the moment a beam of light illuminates an event, it indicates when the event happened. If an event can occur without light to reveal it, the event can go unrecorded. This is what happens with temporal cloaking.
In essence, the demonstration reported by Weiner and his students wasn’t very different from the one that preceded it a year ago: A beam of light was sent into an experimental system that had been rigged with fiber optics and coupled with a detector. Somewhere along the fiber-optic cable, a tiny dark hole—a time gap—formed within the beam and then quickly closed back up, as if there had been no interference in the light at all. Inside that time hole, an event—or a bit of data—could have slipped through unbeknownst to an onlooker.
Cornell’s original experiment created a hole by pulsing one laser beam with a second laser, which transformed the laser’s wave length into split range. This effect basically manipulated light with light. Then the beam entered a special section of the cable that carried one wavelength of the light faster than the other opening up a space of complete darkness in the middle.
Weiner and his students experiment earlier this week is different. They have successfully manipulated the beam of light with a phase modulator. This modulator is currently used in telecommunications to encode data onto an optical fiber.
Weiners modulator experiment manipulated the light in similar fashion to the previous Cornell experiment thus opening a time gap that also lasted for tens of picoseconds. Since telecom modulators are capable of encoding billions of bits per second and require less power than femtosecond lasers, this newer system can generate cloaks much more rapidly—at a rate of 12.7 billion times a second. At that rate, you could hide 46 percent of a typical telecom transmission. That’s a considerable improvement over the previous rate of 40 000 times per second.
The new cloak isn’t yet complete as only 90% of the communication signal through the fibres can be cloaked. They are now working on improving their system by utilizing better and far more expensive phase modulators.
Alessandro Farsi, a doctoral student in the laboratory of Alexander L. Gaetaand a member of the Cornell team that conducted the first demonstration of temporal cloaking, agrees that this new experiment overcame one major limitation of their group’s old setup. “What they managed to do is to have the gap open in a more repetitive way,” he says. “If you are able to take a continuous signal, as they do, and compress it into many little peaks, now you have a lot of empty space where things can happen and not interact with the signal, and you’ll be able to hide them.”
Farsi imagined a few other new applications for the technology, including labelling different data streams and hiding noise to improve a signal. “The techniques that have been developed for generating the cloaking are useful also for enhancing data,” he says. He can also see how this new method could be another step toward the coveted “spatio-temporal cloaking,” the combination of cloaking in space and time. “This application of a [temporal] cloaking could be brought back to spatial cloaking devices,” Farsi says. “Ideas cross-pollinate, and this is an interesting approach.”
This new found cloaking is a very real and applicable scientific breakthrough. With ability to conceal pockets of time comes great power. With great power comes great responsibility. Boldly going where no man has gone before.