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Ocean's Eleven has nothing on this. A robber breaks into a bank safe and returns home, where he activates a device that conceals his earlier burglary, making it look like he never entered the bank in the first place. Such a "time cloak" is still a long way from reality, but researchers have now made an important first step, demonstrating a cloaking device that can hide for a fraction of a second an event that occurs at a specific point in time.

In recent years, physicists and engineers have developed rudimentary invisibility cloaks that smoothly funnel light around an object so that it cannot be seen. The time cloak, in contrast, essentially opens a gap in a laser beam, so that anything that happens in that gap cannot affect the beam and be detected. Of course, you can create such a gap just by momentarily blocking the beam with your hand. But by stitching together light illuminating the scene before and after the concealed event occurs, Alexander Gaeta, Moti Fridman, , and colleagues at Cornell University stitch the beam together again after the concealed event occurs. So an observer sees a continuous, uninterrupted beam of light and never suspects that part of the action has been edited out.

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Category: Science