Quantum Levitation using Nanoparticle Superconductors…

The ability to effortlessly defy gravities surly bonds has been dreamed of since man first peered upwards. Levitation is one expression of this dream and recent advances in quantum superconductivity are helping to make the dream a reality.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the spectacular work of Dr Boaz Almog and others who have been demonstrating the latest quantum superconductor discoveries that are allowing us to defy gravity in new and fascinating ways. Sit back, relax and prepare to be introduced to the train set of the future.

Quantum levitation is similar to traditional superconducting levitation techniques but instead of using exotic ceramic superconductors a super thin layer of nano-particles is used to produce the superconducting effect. A permanent magnet track provides the magnetic field for the quantum superconductor to repel and lock onto.

highpants-quantum-levitation-diagramQuantum flux pinning or trapping makes quantum superconductor levitation different, and a little special. The surface of the superconducting layer contains imperfections that let a thread of magnetism through pinning the superconductor in place, even allowing the quantum superconductor puck to stay in place while upside down.

The fact that the nano-particle quantum superconductor only requires liquid nitrogen to become a superconductor is also quietly impressive. Many early superconductors required the far more expensive liquid Helium cooling. Liquid Nitrogen provides a chilling -77 Kelvin (−196 °C) temperature, the current record for high temperature superconductors is -133K held by a ceramic superconductor.

The website Quantum Experience has kits available for those wanting to experience quantum levitation first hand. The kits generate the same quantum flux locking and maglev behaviour as the video demonstrations and look like heaps of fun. Kits are available for 40 and 80 cm maglev tracks ($360-450) and the amazing maglev coffee table top is also available for between $3,500 and $5,500 depending on the configuration. Cheaper starter kits are also available for a couple of hundred dollars. You will of course need some liquid Nitrogen to cool the puck.

highpants-quantum-levitation-puckOther applications for this new technology are already on the way with new maglev train designs and frictionless bearings being touted as killer applications. Ultimately the fact that such a small amount of nanoparticle material is required could provide a huge cost advantage over ceramic superconductors, the kings of superconductivity.

Levitation with superconducting magnets has been with us for over 100 years now; the addition of quantum physics has provided a fascinating twist. Work however continues to find the perfect high temperature superconductor, a material that may lead to a world floating on magnetic fields.

Reference: Quantum Experience
Reference: Wikipedia Superconductivity