It may not instantly whisk you to far-flung reaches of the universe like the gravitational wormholes of Stargate, Star Trek and Interstellar, but researchers at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) claim to have created the first experimental wormhole that links two regions of space magnetically.
Using metamaterials and metasurfaces, the scientists for UAB's Department of Physics created a sphere that from the outside is magnetically undetectable. The sphere consisted of an external layer with a ferromagnetic surface and an inner layer made of a superconducting material, while crossing it from one side to the other and forming a tunnel was a cylinder made of a rolled ferromagnetic sheet.
Using this arrangement, the magnetic field from a magnet or an electromagnet at one end of the tunnel passes through the "wormhole" undetected and appears at the other end in the form of an isolated magnetic monopole, which is something that does not exist in nature.
The research follows on from previous work by the same team in 2014 when they built a magnetic fiber capable of transporting a magnetic field from one end to the other. However, the fiber was detectable magnetically whereas the wormhole is a three-dimensional device that is undetectable by any magnetic field.
Although it isn't in quite the same league as connecting two points in spacetime, and the device only creates the illusion of a magnetic field propagating through a tunnel outside the 3D space, the researchers say the technology could have applications in fields where magnetic fields are used, such as medicine. For example, the team suggests the technology could make is possible to take MRI scans of different parts of the body simultaneously, or make such scans more comfortable for patients by distancing them from the detectors.
The team's study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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