Cool Party Trick: Frozen Puck Hovers in Mid-Air
Researchers at the school of physics and astronomy at Tel Aviv University have created a track around which a superconductor can float, thanks to the phenomenon of quantum levitation.
The apparently floating disk in the video is a sapphire crystal that has been coated with a very thin layer of ceramic material. At room temperature, it has no interesting magnetic or electrical properties. However, when cooled with liquid nitrogen (frozen to negative 185 C or 365 F), the disk turns into a high-temperature superconductor of energy.
The principle can be explained through the Meissner effect. In this case, it works because the magnet's magnetic field can't penetrate the superconductor (the cooled puck), causing its force to be expelled back at it. The superconductivity of the disc is thin enough to let in magnetic energy in the form of "flux tubes" in order to keep the object suspended in mid-air. The result is called quantum locking, meaning the superconductor is locked in space.
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