Recent research has uncovered a remarkable ability to manipulate and control electromagnetic fields to produce effects such as perfect imaging and spatial cloaking1,2. To achieve spatial cloaking, the index of refraction is manipulated to flow light from a probe around an object in such a way that a ‘hole’ in space is created, and the object remains hidden3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14. Alternatively, it may be desirable to cloak the occurrence of an event over a finite time period, and the idea of temporal cloaking has been proposed in which the dispersion of the material is manipulated in time, producing a ‘time hole’ in the probe beam to hide the occurrence of the event from the observer15. This approach is based on accelerating the front part of a probe light beam and slowing down its rear part to create a well controlled temporal gap—inside which an event occurs—such that the probe beam is not modified in any way by the event. The probe beam is then restored to its original form by the reverse manipulation of the dispersion. Here we present an experimental demonstration of temporal cloaking in an optical fibre-based system by applying concepts from the space–time duality between diffraction and dispersive broadening16. We characterize the performance of our temporal cloak by detecting the spectral modification of a probe beam due to an optical interaction and show that the amplitude of the event (at the picosecond timescale) is reduced by more than an order of magnitude when the cloak is turned on. These results are a significant step towards the development of full spatio-temporal cloaking.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $3.90 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Leonhardt, U. Optical conformal mapping. Science 312, 1777–1780 (2006)
Pendry, J. B., Schurig, D. & Smith, D. R. Controlling electromagnetic fields. Science 312, 1780–1782 (2006)
Leonhardt, U. & Tyc, T. Broadband invisibility by non-Euclidean cloaking. Science 323, 110–112 (2009)
Cai, W. Chettiar, U. K., Kildishev, A. V. & Shalaev, V.M. Optical cloaking with metamaterials. Nature 1, 224–227 (2007)
Cummer, S. A. et al. Scattering theory derivation of a 3d acoustic cloaking shell. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 024301 (2008)
Lai, Y. Chen, H. Zhang, Z. Q. & Chan, C. T. Complementary media invisibility cloak that cloaks objects at a distance outside the cloaking shell. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 093901 (2009)
Gabrielli, L. H. Cardenas, J. Poitras, C. B. & Lipson, M. Silicon nanostructure cloak operating at optical frequencies. Nature Photon. 3, 461–463 (2009)
Li Valentine, J., Zentgraf, L. & Bartal, T. G. &. Zhang, X. An optical cloak made of dielectrics. Nature Mater. 8, 568–571 (2009)
Li, J. & Pendry, J. B. Hiding under the carpet: a new strategy for cloaking. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 203901 (2008)
Miller, D. A. B. On perfect cloaking. Opt. Express 14, 12457–12466 (2006)
Weder, R. A. A rigorous analysis of high-order electromagnetic invisibility cloaks. J. Phys. A 41, 065207 (2008)
Greenleaf, A. Lassas, M. & Uhlmann, G. Anisotropic conductivities that cannot be detected by EIT. Physiol. Meas. . 24, 413, doi:10.1088/0967-3334/24/2/353 (2003)
Schurig, D. et al. Metamaterial electromagnetic cloak at microwave frequencies. Science 314, 977–980 (2006)
Chen, H. & Wu, B. I. Zhang, B. & Kong, J. A. Electromagnetic wave interactions with a metamaterial cloak. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 063903 (2007)
McCall, M. W. Favaro, A. Kinsler, P. & Boardman, A. A spacetime cloak, or a history editor. J. Opt. 13, 024003 (2011)
Agrawal, G. P. Nonlinear Fiber Optics 4th edn (Academic Press, 2007)
Kolner, B. H. Space-time duality and the theory of temporal imaging. IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 30, 1951–1963 (1994)
Kolner, B. H. & Nazarathy, M. Temporal imaging with a time lens. Opt. Lett. 14, 630–632 (1989)
Bennett, C. V. & Kolner, B. H. Principles of parametric temporal imaging. I. System configurations. IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 36, 430–437 (2000)
Bennett, C. V. & Kolner, B. H. Principles of parametric temporal imaging. II. System performance. IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 36, 649–655 (2000)
Salem, R. et al. Optical time lens based on four-wave mixing on a silicon chip. Opt. Lett. 33, 1047–1049 (2008)
Foster, M. A. et al. Silicon-chip-based ultrafast optical oscilloscope. Nature 456, 81–84 (2008)
Foster, M. A. et al. Ultrafast waveform compression using a time-domain telescope. Nature Photon. 3, 581–585 (2009)
We thank D. J. Gauthier for his comments. This work was supported by the Defence Advanced Research Project Agency and by the Center for Nanoscale Systems, supported by the National Science Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
About this article
Cite this article
Fridman, M., Farsi, A., Okawachi, Y. et al. Demonstration of temporal cloaking. Nature 481, 62–65 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10695
Nature Communications (2019)
Scientific Reports (2016)
Nature Photonics (2016)
Mathematische Annalen (2016)
Scientific Reports (2015)