The laws of physics might make the creation of a transporter which can dematerialise objects and then rematerialise them elsewhere a little beyond us, but it is now being suggested that an object could move from one region of space to another, completely unseen by anyone watching.
Research published today, Tuesday 16 November 2010, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Optics, explains how the propagation of light can be manipulated to create a 'temporal void', allowing undetectable moments of invisibility.
As lead author, Professor Martin McCall from the Department of Physics at Imperial College London, explains, "Our spacetime 'event' cloak works by dividing illuminating light into a leading part which is sped up and passes before an event, and a trailing part which is slowed down and passes after. Light is then stitched back together seamlessly, so as to leave observers in ignorance."
Graduate student Alberto Favaro explains further, "It is unlike ordinary cloaking devices because it does not attempt to divert light around an object. Instead it pulls apart the light rays in time, as if opening a theatre curtain - creating a temporary corridor through which energy, information, and matter can be manipulated or transported undetected."
Researcher Dr Paul Kinsler is enthusiastic about their proof of concept design which uses customised versions of optical fibres already used in telecommunications to achieve the feat.
The team is confident that their findings will initiate a race to create a practical spacetime cloak.
Professor Martin McCall continues, "We have shown that by manipulating the way the light illuminating an event reaches the viewer, it is possible to hide the passage of time. Not only can specific events be obscured, but it is possible for me to be watching you and for you to suddenly disappear and reappear in a different location."
As well as making a safe-cracking thief's dreams come true, the optical breakthrough promises exciting advances in quantum computing, which depends on the manipulation of light for the safe transmission of vast amounts of data.
Besides the science-fiction capabilities of the event cloak, signal-processing applications will play a key role in driving research forward on this topic.
The researchers' paper can be downloaded from Tuesday 16 November 2010 here: http://iopscience.iop.org/2040-8986/13/2/024003/pdf/0240-8986_13_2_024003.
Joseph Winters | EurekAlert!
Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems
08.12.2016 | Nagoya Institute of Technology
Will Earth still exist 5 billion years from now?
08.12.2016 | KU Leuven
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences