For scientists at the University of Maryland claim to have proved that time travel is impossible and will forever remain a Hollywood invention.
Igor Smolyaninov and Yu-Ju Hung have built a toy version of the Big Bang - the point at which the universe was created around 13.7 billion years ago.
Going out with a bang: Scientists in the U.S. claim their experiment proves time travel is impossible
The desktop experiment simulates how light and timed flowed during the Big Bang - but not the explosion itself.
According to the research, it could help explain why time only marches forward and disorder increases - why we only get older not younger and why a smashed plate cannot become unbroken.
In a report in Physical Review Letters, Smolyaninov describes their work as 'simple experimental geometry'.
For the experiment, researchers took strips of acrylic and gold called metamaterial, and arranged them to twist light in unusual ways.
These substances can be thought of as 'invisibility cloaks', bending light around objects to disguise them.
Shed some light: An image from inside 'Big Bang-in-a-box'It has also been claimed that metamaterial can mimic astronomical events such as a planet orbiting a star or how light behaves in a black hole.
When a laser hit the metamaterial, it excited waves of plasmons on the surface - which appeared to only move in one direction.
The movement is the same as how massive particles move through time and space - creating a Big Bang-like moment.
At first the scientists believed they could create time travel - by building a metamaterial in which light moving in a circle was mathematically identical to particles moving through time, then sending a plasmon on a circular orbit bringing it back to the same point it started.
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But it turns out to be even more complicated than that - for the specific light that is need to interact with particles travelling through time cannot go in a circle.
'Time travel in this model looks like it’s impossible,' said Smolyaninov.
However the research team did acknowledge that the the experiment was not absolute in its findings.
'It will never give you the real final answer about the real Big Bang and real time,' said Smolyaninov. 'But if you study it, you may discover something, and you may be able to ask more intelligent questions.'
For example, it could help scientists understand more about the 'Big Crunch' - one scenario on the fate of the universe when the constant expansion of light and time from the Big Bang reverses and the universe collapses into a black hole.(dailymail.co.uk)