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Quantum locking!

March 27, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

This is more than quantum levitation, it's quantum locking or flux pinning! Physics is awesome! It's not something we will see at Science Crazy, well certainly not just yet! Ha! But here's how it works for those of you who are curious...

This is a crystal sapphire wafer, coated in a superconductor called yttrium barium copper oxide. When superconductors temperatures drop to around the coldness of liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C!) they begin to conduct electricity without loss of energy. Normal conducting materials, like copper, can not do this.

When they're cold like this, superconductors hate magnets and repel away from them. However, in this case, the superconducting coat is so thin there are tiny amounts of imperfections in the thin layer, this allows the magnetic force to still get through. These magnetic channels are called flux tubes.

These flux tubes are what creates quantum locking; they cause the magnetic field to lock in to place in all 3 dimensions!

 

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