Levitation isn’t just for Houdini anymore. A team of researchers at Tel-Aviv University has discovered a way to make objects float in mid-air using a process called quantum levitation, and they think the tech could even lead to floating alternatives to traditional gas powered vehicles. Their demonstration, which involves using a single sapphire wafer (yes sapphire as in Princess Kate’s ring) coated with a thin later of a material called yttrium barium copper oxide recently wowed the crowds at the recent Association of Science-Technoloy Centers (ASTC) Annual Conference. The liquid nitrogen used to freeze the disc even gives off a cool mist that makes the experiment look all the more exciting.
The finding was based on the relationship between superconductors and magnets, which hate each other and repel instantly. Since the particular superconductor they used was extremely thin, magnetic waves penetrate the sapphire through weak spots called flux tubes. The tubes are locked inside in the superconductor, allowing it to float, rotate, and even move around in mid-air.
While this sort of technology is in its beginning stages, people are already thinking of how to apply it. Could floating cars finally be in our near future?
images via Quantum Levitation