For more than 50 years, scientists have hypothesized that a special type of reflection known as temporal reflections exist in the field of quantum mechanics. However, proving the existence of this intriguing mechanic has always seemed impossible, at least until recently.

While the term “time reflection” can reinforce images of time travel and sci-fi movies, these reflections aren’t really time travel. Instead, a time reflection occurs whenever an entire medium through which an electromagnetic wave is traveling completely changes course. This causes part of the wave to be inverted, transforming its frequency.

But these reflections require what scientists call a uniform variation across their entire electromagnetic field. For this reason, scientists have always thought that temporal reflections would require too much energy for us to observe them in action. However, scientists from the Advanced Science Research Center at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York have successfully observed such reflection.

Looking into a time mirror would not show you your face, but rather your back. Image source: HBCY/Amazon

To accomplish this spectacle, the researchers sent broadband signals through a strip of metal filled with electronic switches, all connected to reservoir capacitors. This allowed the researchers to trigger the switches whenever they wanted, thereby increasing the impedance across the entire metal strip. The sudden change then caused the signals to successfully carry the temporal reflections.

The researchers published the results of these findings in a journal article Natural Physics. Accomplishing such a feat was not easy, but the discovery here could completely change the way some scientists approach this intriguing mechanism in the future. At least proving the existence of temporal reflections is a huge step forward in the field of quantum mechanics. And that answers a question that has plagued scientists for more than five decades.

The researchers note that these special quantum reflections also behave differently than our standard spatial reflections. Thus, temporal reflections first echo the last part of the signal. This means that if you were to look into a time mirror, you wouldn’t see your face looking at you. Instead, you would watch your back.

The study of time travel is not new, nor is the quest to prove the existence of temporal reflections. But now that scientists have succeeded in reverse time on a quantum leveland even show how temporal reflections occur, we may see more breakthroughs in this area appear in the next few years.


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