Scientists have poked a pinhole into the space-time continuum, achieving something that before, only Spock could do.
Cornell University physicists can now mask a brief period where events are virtually invisible, as if they had never happened, according to Moti Fridman, a researcher on the project, which was published in the "Nature" journal last week.
Fridman explained the genesis of the project to The Christian Post in a telephone interview Wednesday. It was inspired by a theory proposed by Martin McCall, a physics professor at Imperial College that a spatial-time cloak was possible.
“The experiment began in early 2011, with a temporal cloaking prediction that you could actually hide an event in time,” said the post-doctoral graduate.
He explained that previously, scientists discovered “spatial cloaking” – making an object disappear from view – which led to further research of the possibility of temporal cloaking.
The team at Cornell created a time lens, using two high-powered beams of light – called a “signal” and a “pump” – passing through an optical fiber. The scientists found that by changing the color of a beam, they could speed up or slow down the particles of light in the split beams, creating a tiny gap in between the two (merely 15 picoseconds long). During this gap, by introducing a brief flash of light, it virtually “closes the gap.”
“If you change it to blue, you can slow it down. If (the light particles are moving) fast enough, you can create a gap in time and hide an event in this space. All you have to do afterward is close the gap,” Fridman said.
“This is just the first step,” he said. “Right now it’s very short – maybe we could increase it (the time gap) to a nanosecond. … It’s too hard to predict how it will be used in the future.”
“Maybe someday scientists will discover how a person can actually go through the gap,” he pondered.
The research was funded by The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and by the Cornell Center for Nanoscale Systems. The next step would be to create the gap in both the spatial and the temporal dimensions, or the space-time continuum.
“This is the benefit of being a scientist. You never know what’s going to happen,” Fridman said.