Disc Levitates With Amazing Quantum Trapping
What you're seeing is called quantum trapping.
As little pieces of science fiction start to slip into every day society, it's becoming harder to get us excited about new technologies. This is not one of those times. This preliminary research by physicists at Tel Aviv University will make your jaw drop. It shows quantum trapping technology that resembles magic.
Quantum trapping uses a stable magnetic field to "clamp" this super-frozen, super-thin disc in three-dimensional space. With the stability of quantum trapping, the disc will hang in space even when the whole apparatus is inverted. Quantum mechanics deals with the motion and interaction of matter on the subatomic level, which means physics concerning particles smaller than the individual atoms that make up matter.
In the video is a single crystal layer of crystal sapphire, paired with a ceramic layer. The super thin layers are then cooled to -301 Fahrenheit (-185 Celcius). At these frigid temperatures, the ceramic becomes a superconductor and conducts electricity with no resistance at all.
In addition to electricity, the disc also experiences the Meissner effect. Hang on, it's not that difficult. This Meissner effect explains the magnetic properties of superconductors. Normally, a magnetic field would pass through a disc, attracting or repelling all parts at the same time. But when the disc is a superconductor, the magnetic field travels around the disc and only forces itself through the weakest points. It's at these points where quantum mechanics takes over. The disc becomes trapped in space, a concept aptly named quantum trapping.
It might look like magic, but it's just quantum mechanics. Someday, technology like this could change how we transport materials, or ourselves! What if cars floated off the ground? What about hoverboards? We'll have to wait and see what this can do for science. Leave a comment with your idea for quantum trapping!