February 15, 2012

Move over Harry P.

Invisibility cloaks that are able to steer light around two dimensional objects?

Scientists have made a hole in time. Brian Handwerk  at National Geographic News:  Einstein's theories of relativity suggest that gravity can cause time to slow down. Now scientists have demonstrated a way to stop time altogether—or at least, to give the appearance of time stopping by bending light to create a hole in time.

The new research builds on recent demonstrations of "invisibility cloaks" that can make objects seem to disappear by bending waves of visible light.

The idea is that, if light moves around an object instead of striking it, that light doesn't get scattered and reflected back to an observer, making the object essentially invisible.

Now Cornell University scientists have used a similar concept to create a hole in time, albeit a very short one: The effect lasts around 40 trillionths of a second.

"Imagine that you could divert light in time—slow it down, speed it up—so that you create a gap in the light beam in time," said study co-author and Cornell physicist Alex Gaeta.

"In this case, any event that occurs at that instant of time won't lead to scattering of light. It appears as if the event never occurred."
For example, Gaeta said, think of laser beams crisscrossing a museum display to protect priceless works of art.

"You have a laser beam and a detector set up to detect when all of a sudden the beam is broken and there is no light. So if you pass through that beam, an alarm goes off," he said.  "But what if a device would perhaps speed up a portion of the beam and slow down another portion of it so that there is an instant of time with no beam. You could pass through, and then [on the other side of the event] the device would do the opposite—speed up the part that had been slowed and slow the part that had been sped up," he explained.  That would put the beam of light back together, so to speak, so the detector would never recognize that anything had happened."

Hmm, where do I sign-up? 


Anonymous said...

Researchers are nowhere near developing the technology seen in H.G. Wells's 'Invisible Man.' But they are getting closer.

your gaggle of fans said...

We’ll believe it when we see it—or rather, don’t see it—but scientists from Tufts and Boston University claim to have invented the world’s first pliable invisibility cloak. Made from silk and coated in gold, the visibility-challenged outerwear still requires some tweaking before it’s ready to enable Hogwarts-style hijinks: the new metamaterial only works at terahertz frequencies between radio and infrared light on the electromagnetic spectrum, according to a paper published in an issue of Advanced Materials.

Bill said...

Even if you can just slightly bend light to your advantage most people won’t see you. A few years ago we had a huge airsoft game going and someone had made a ghili suit to try out. He was so hard to see one of his team mates stepped on him! ;-0

Mona said...

When you find out please let me know(sign-up).

karl said...

great theory. i encourage looking into it further.
but i have to comment. its very complicated
always renember KISS

frenchtoast said...

In the names of Harry Potter and the Predator, let's hope that Moore's Law successfully applies to rods, meta material, and lasers, and not just to microchips and processors.
Until engineers find a way around all the obstacles, true invisibility will remain just out of reach. So relax: The men in black aren't leaning over your shoulder as you read this. Still, the tech is physically possible and likely on its way. As is the obvious countermeasure: a balloon full of screaming yellow paint.

Charles said...

I already have one, but I can't see where I left it!
"We may be seeing Harry Potter's invisibility suit sooner than we think?"
Not if it works, we won't.
I think I'm going back into the defence trade...Of to the MoD to show them my new DPM combat uniform which makes soldiers invisible.
"But I can't see anyone!"
"No! He's completely invisible!"
"That's marvellous! Here's your cheque.”
"Ta very much but can I have cash instead? I've got a flight to Zurich in fifteen minutes..."
"Both of you?"
"No. Just me.”

Ms. Edna (squared) said...

You've got my size Charles.
Send one NOW!

Danke Karl for the advise.