Magnetic wormhole created for the first time with a ‘disco ball’

4 Sep 2015

For the first time, a team of researchers has achieved something spectacular in the form of a magnetic wormhole, capable of transmitting magnetic fields from one location and having them appear in another.

While our first thoughts of a wormhole make us think of bending space and time to travel vast distances within the universe, a magnetic wormhole is a much different challenge altogether – one that has now been achieved.

While a gravitational wormhole is simply beyond our current level of technology due to the vast, vast amounts of energy needed, creating a magnetic wormhole and transmitting electromagnetism from one point to another is a lot more achievable.

The team from the Universitat Autònoma in Barcelona achieved their magnetic wormhole using metamaterials and metasurfaces to build the wormhole tunnel.

With the magnetic wormhole, magnetic fields from a magnet or electromagnet will appear at the other end of the wormhole as an isolated magnetic monopole.

The wormhole they have created looks like a funky disco ball, with an external layer that has a ferromagnetic surface and an inner layer made of superconducting material.

Magnetic wormhole

The magnetic wormhole. Image via Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Finally, another ferromagnetic sheet is rolled into a cylinder that crosses the sphere from one end to the other.

In this way, the sphere become completely invisible to any device that detects magnetic fields.

Much like the gravitational wormholes featured in science fiction, the magnetic wormhole “changes the topology of space, as if the inner region has been magnetically erased from space,” according to Àlvar Sánchez, the lead researcher.

In terms of what this technology could be used for, Sánchez and his team have suggested that it could be used in the medical field, particularly, perhaps offering added comfort for patients undergoing an MRI scan.

With a magnetic wormhole, the patient could be kept at a distance from the actual MRI scanner in a hospital, or MRI images of different parts of the body could be obtained simultaneously.

Wormhole image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic