An anonymous reader writes: A breakthrough achieved by a world-spanning group of engineering professors has led to the creation of photonic computer chips that can propogate light without slowing it down and without changing phase. In the words of one of the researchers, Serdar Kocaman, "the light disperses through the material as if the entire space is missing." To do this, the researchers had to create photonic crystals with a negative refractive index out of nanostructures. These photonic crystals are then alternated with a positive refractive index dielectric to create a chip with zero refraction. In other words, light enters and leaves the chip at exactly the same speed and without losing phase.
Other than providing a huge boost to the telecommunications industry, Chee Wei Wong, the project's lead engineer, thinks this technology could lead to invisibility cloaks: "We can now control the flow of light, the fastest thing known to us. This can enable self-focusing light beams, highly directive antennas, and even potentially an approach to cloak or hide objects, at least in the small-scale."