LEVITATION VIDEO: Quantum Locking Is Incredible

On August 8, 2013 by Lazer Horse

Quantum Locking Image Levitation Fluxons Tunneling Physics

This isn’t a new video, but it’s new to me, and it features something called quantum locking or flux pinning. Thanks to our old friend ‘physics’ we have a Marty McFly-esque hover board contraption in real life.

I’m no good at physics (or chemistry, or maths, or sociology, or….) but from what I’ve read, here’s what’s going on:

So, to start with you need something inert, i.e. it won’t react with anything. In this case they’re using a crystal sapphire wafer. I haven’t checked the cost of crystal sapphire wafers recently, but I bet a skateboard sized one might be prohibitively expensive. You then coat this with a superconductor called yttrium barium copper oxide. Now, superconductor is probs a word you’ve come across, but if I’m honest I wasn’t sure what a superconductor really was so here’s a brief description in case you don’t really know either:

When you cool some stuff to below a critical temperature it has literally no electrical resistance and repels magnetism. There’s a nice one minute video about it HERE.

So back to our quantum locking story – because superconductors repel magnetism so ferociously, they would normally just wobble about when placed near one, but because our crystal sapphire wafer is so thin the magnetic force can, in some places, penetrate it. These weak spots are called flux tubes (or fluxons). So far so good. Now it gets a bit shady for me I’m afraid. Inside these tubes the superconductivity is destroyed, so for some reason, however you place the disc it stays firmly in that orientation. BUT WHY!?!?!?….

Anyway, I can’t get my head fully wrapped round it, here’s a TED talk to help you out. If you can’t be bothered, here’s the fun video of real life levitation. If they can work out how to get this effect at room temperature or above we are going to have some fun…. and probably some terrifying weapons too….

 

 

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