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Light breaks up to cloak gaps in time

Method could hide messages without sender's knowledge

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2:10pm, June 5, 2013

A device that manipulates light to open up small gaps in time has crept toward implementation outside the lab. Detailed June 5 in Nature, it could soon improve security over fiber-optic lines or improve data streaming rates.

“It’s exciting to see this exotic manipulation of light and its applications for communications and data processing,” says Alexander Gaeta, a Cornell University physicist who demonstrated the first time cloak two years ago (SN: 8/13/11, p. 12).

The term “cloak” can bring to mind Harry Potter-esque materials that hide an object at a specific point in space. These cloaks, a hot area of research since they were proposed in 2006, manipulate light so that an observer cannot see a stationary object.

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