Quantum Levitation: The Future: Is Here

Josh Clark

The quantum world makes my head hurt a lot, but I have here to present to you, something that I kind of have my mind wrapped around, largely because I haven't delved too deeply into it, as the quantum level of material existence is the yawning void where human minds are warped to destruction. This is just like that, I'm sure, but I'm remaining relatively superficial here.

"This" refers to quantum levitation, which amounts to levitation here in the visible world thanks to actions on the quantum world. Apparently, as the people at Tel-Aviv University have put it as plainly as they can so people like me can get it, when a superconductor (a material that is extremely efficient at transmitting electricity) is introduced to a magnetic field, the superconductor dispels the fields, which tends to bend around it. This means that superconductors normally do not to levitate.

When you take a certain type of superconductor, say, oh, a wafer of sapphire coated with one micrometer of yttrium barium copper oxide, and freeze it -301°F, things start to get a little weird. As in normal cases, most of any magnetic field the superconductor is introduced to is dispelled and thus bent around it. I say most but not all. Some of the magnetic field (in the form of thin tubes of magnetism called flux tubes) make it all the way through the superconductor wafer and effectively pin it in place. Pin it in place as high as 40 cm above the magnet! The magnetic field that is dispelled creates resistance against the force of gravity and the flux tubes pin it in place. My friend, this is, in practice and in prediction, levitation. This is the hoverboard. They were using iPads in 2001: A Space Odyssey and now we have the hoverboard. The future is here.

Thanks to Russ and Tyler for telling me about this whole crazy thing. Here's a video of the thing in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJV5PSpYPL0&w=610