Forgetting that cloak of invisibility — how about a device that hides you in the very fabric of time? New research published in Nature reveals that scientists have successfully hidden an object in both space and time — even if for only for 40 picoseconds. Rather than bending light around the object, their technique creates a temporal hole in light beams where an event can be hidden.

The technique relies on what's known as a split-time lens to create a temporal hole. A beam of light is pushed through the lens, which speeds up the travel of the fast moving blue light, and slows down the comparatively sluggish red, leaving a gap in the middle — a gap ripe for exploitation. The light is recombined on the other side, and for a window of trillionths of a second, whatever goes on in that gap is undetectable.

Whatever's in the gap should interact with the light passing through, but it simply...doesn't. The travelling light beam emerges on the other end of the lens unscathed and untouched, completely oblivious to what happened in that undetected picosecond gap.


Photo via NREL.