Spacetime Cloak Of Invisibility Conceals Events

A spacetime cloak (STC) of invisibility has been proposed by UK researchers Martin W McCall, Alberto Favaro, Paul Kinsler and Allan Boardman. The idea is to use appropriate materials to slow light down as it approaches an observer; a temporal void is created during which selected events are rendered unobservable.

We've been reading more about the possibility that metamaterials might make Broadband Invisibility Cloaks possible (to say nothing of inaudibility cloaks), but this is a totally different breed of cat.

This process is thus utterly distinct from a spatial 'object' cloak, which instead achieves concealment by bending light around an object. The STC opens a temporary corridor through which energy, information and matter can be manipulated or transported undetected. Once the concealed passage has been used, the STC closes by slowing the leading part of the light, whilst speeding up the trailing part, leaving no trace of the cloak, or the concealed events, on the field profile. To a distant observer, any non-emitting object whose presence persisted throughout the lifetime of the STC will have had a finite interval excised from its history. Any object which emits light during STC operation will have that part of its history temporally compressed so that, if not absorbed, it will appear to the observer as if occurring in a single instant.

Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation recall The Next Phase, a fifth-season episode. Ensign Ro and Lt. Commander La Forge are apparently lost in a beam-in accident; La Forge believes that they might be out of phase, since they can see their shipmates but cannot be seen themselves. Ultimately, Data solves the problem and returns them to their normal state.


(ST: TNG The Next Phase - Geordi and Ro are phased in)

From A spacetime cloak, or a history editor via io9; thanks Moira! for the tip and references for this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/17/2010)

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