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Scientists Create "Wormhole" For Magnetic Fields

| 24 Aug 2015 22:52

A "wormhole" created by the Autonomous University of Barcelona masks magnetic fields so well it's like they're in an "extra special dimension".

We all want flying cars, but even if the future doesn't look like we imagined, science can still make it an amazing one. Take wormholes, hypothetical shortcuts connecting two distant points of spacetime that we might one day travel through. Sadly, we have no proof such a concept actually applies to matter - but perhaps the description is apt for magnetic fields. According to physicists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, not only can a "wormhole" mask magnetic fields from view, the process has been completed in a lab.

"This device can transmit the magnetic field from one point in space to another point, through a path that is magnetically invisible," study co-author Jordi Prat-Camps explained. "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 this isn't the space-time wormhole we imagine from Stargate, it's still quite impressive. The Autonomous University of Barcelona's team created a three-layer object, made up of two concentric spheres and an interior spiral-cylinder. While the interior layer of the object transmitted the magnetic field, the other two layers completely blocked the field's existence. This sounds simple enough, but it's really freaking hard to do, since magnetic fields are supposed to be detectable from all points around it. Yet outside of the object, the field might as well not exist according to most traditional observation methods.

"From a magnetic point of view, you have the magnetic field from the magnet disappearing at one end of the wormhole and appearing again at the other end of the wormhole," Prat-Camps said.

So what practical applications does this discovery have? Consider MRI machines, which currently require patients to stick themselves into a claustrophobic central tube powered by a large magnet. But if a "wormhole" could funnel magnetic fields without ruining their integrity, doctors could take pictures from a distance that's more comfortable for the patient. It's not quite as exciting as a spacetime wormhole might be one day, but still important all the same.

Source: Nature, via Scientific American

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