Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Quantum Levitation, The Stuff of Science Fiction!

Something I recently looked into was Quantum Levitation, and the ability to have real levitation.  Quantum Levitation uses the principles of the Meissner effect. This is an expulsion of a magnetic field from a superconductor during its transition to the superconducting state.* This basically means that the magnetic field goes around the superconductor and not through it, as the normally would.  A superconductor is basically a super cooled object of a few specific materials, like sapphire, with zero electrical resistance that expels magnetic fields.*  Because of this effect, superconductors are able to essentially levitate when over the right substance, using the magnetic field.

Credit: Wikipedia 

This levitation is also interesting because the only friction caused is from the air, so in an airtight environment there will be no friction.  Because of this effect, the levitation effect is essentially infinite once a superconductor is initially cooled. Technology in this field is constantly making advances in production of new, useful items, like wires, fibers, and cables.  There are even ideas to make new transportation systems, like a superconductor train that uses the levitation to travel across large distances at much cheaper prices than current transportation methods. Recently there was also an article I read that explained that many advances in making superconductors work under higher temperatures were being made, and that it may soon be possible to have superconductors work at more everyday temperatures. This would effectively make this effect usable in more everyday life situations and shows that Quantum Levitation is set to be a big part of our technological future.

For those interested in Quantum Levitation, there is a website devoted to the science of this effect and they even have kits for those wanting to try out their own levitation!  For those interested in this, you can find out all about Quantum Levitation here!  With so many advances in recent technology, like 3D printers and robotics, the age we live in seems increasingly like the stuff of science fiction!

(*  are links to references used.)

No comments:

Post a Comment