Scientists in Spain have created a “magnetic wormhole” in the laboratory which is reportedly capable of transmitting magnetic fields invisibly through space.
While the manufactured wormhole does not connect two separate points in “spacetime” as does a genuine theoretical wormhole and cannot answer physic’s and cosmology’s fundamental questions, it can however connect two points in three dimensional space, albeit electromagnetically.
Researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have developed a spherical device capable of transferring a magnetic field from one point in space to another via a path that is magnetically undetectable. The results are published in Nature.com.
The experiment involved designing a three-layer device which had two spheres connected by an interior spiral cylinder. It enabled the magnetic field to travel from one point to another on a hidden path. The inner layer was made of a ferromagnetic mu-metal, giving it a high level of magnetism, while the next two layers worked to conceal the travelling field.
Normally, as a magnetic field travels its path can be detected, but the device enabled it to disappear while in transit so it appeared to arrive from out of nowhere at its destination, like a cloaking effect.One was a superconductor shell that bent the field as it travelled through the ferromagnetic material, the other was a different mu-metal, cut and formed so as to cancel out the bending. The entire device was placed in liquid nitrogen to aide the superconductors.
“This device can transmit the magnetic field from one point in space to another point, through a path that is magnetically invisible,” said Jordi Prat-Camps, a co-author of the study. “From a magnetic point of view, this device acts like a wormhole, as if the magnetic field was transferred through an extra special dimension.”
While what’s been created isn’t a space-time wormhole, or Einstein-Rosen bridge, like the sort seen inInterstellar and Thor (see below), it does hold real-world potential. For instance it could have applications for MRI scanners which use strong magnets and require people to sit inside a huge machine.
Using a more refined version of this technique means the magnet could still be effective placed further away, doing away with the confined space of an MRI.
Of course, these are all the positive applications that it could possibly used for, but just to keep you on your toes the sphere does have more than a passing resemblance to a certain film (below), Event Horizon, where things didn’t go quite as planned: