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Optical setup helps researchers hide an event from time

Cloaking devices are one of the inventions of science fiction that have made a few tentative steps towards the real world in recent years. Now, researchers have moved the concept into the fourth dimension, creating a setup that hides a specific point in time from being perceived by observers. But if you want to make an event disappear, you have to act fast: right now, we can only hide a few picoseconds worth of time.

The cloaking devices we've made all work based on a similar principle: light that enters the device is bent in such a way that when it exits, its location and direction make it appear that the device itself, and anything within it, were not present. In other words, while within the device, light travels as if it were present. It's just that, once it exits the other side, there's no evidence that anything unusual has taken place. The same general idea governs the action of a temporal cloaking device.

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