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Cloak Morphs Time to Produce Invisibility

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Now you see me, now you don't? Try never seeing me at all.

After years of waiting, flexible metamaterials have finally pushed us one step further into making the invisibility cloak a reality. But should we just stop at plain old invisibility? What if the very same metamaterials could be used to not just make you disappear from sight, but also from time?

A group of scientists from the Imperial College of London, led by Martin McCall, have theorized that by bombarding silica-based optical fibers with laser pulses, you could slow down the time moving through it, opening a gap in illumination. Once time speeds back up, the gap would amount to basically a nanosecond blip to observers.

To put it in layman's terms, it's like those bank heist movies where they hack in to a security cam so that it continually loops footage of an empty vault, when in reality the robbers are already having their way with the cash. The difference is, you no longer need to tap into a live video feed.

Of course, this particular cloaking technique presents several problems. First, it requires a lot of distance; according to McCall's math, it would take around 5 miles of fiber-optic wire to create a 5 nanosecond gap in visual time. The second problem is that since you're slowing down time, you'd be working in total darkness.

Maybe one of those ultrasonic wrist gadgets would help?

[source: Journal of Optics via New Scientist and Gizmodo]

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