(CNN) -- New materials with the ability to manipulate the speed of light could enable the creation of a "space-time cloak" capable of masking events or even creating an illusion of "Star Trek"-style transportation, according to scientists in London.
The cloak, while currently only existing in mathematical theory, takes advantage of the potential properties of "metamaterials" -- artificial materials designed and manipulated at a molecular level to interact with and control electromagnetic waves.
Scientists have previously demonstrated that one possible use of metamaterials could be to render objects invisible by bending light around them. But Professor Martin McCall of Imperial College London says he has now extended the concept of invisibility to a cloak also capable of hiding events both in time and space...
In a paper published in the Journal of Optics, McCall said metamaterials made it theoretically possible to manipulate light rays as they enter a material so that some parts speed up and others slow down. This could create "blind spots" in time, masking an event
. While the accelerated light arrives at a space before an event
has happened, the rest of the light doesn't reach it until after the event