While you may fondly recall the flux capacitor that Dr. Emmett Brown created for time travel in his DeLorean in the 1985 film Back to the Future, physicists that hail from Switzerland and Australia have now proposed building their own real-life flux capacitor.
Physicists believe that they will be able to break time-reversal symmetry with their flux capacitor by the clever use of quantum tunneling, as Phys.org report.
The research conducted on building this device is the result of a joint venture between the Center for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET) and the Australian Research Council Centers of Excellence: the Center for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS) and is slated to revolutionize the movement of microwave signals.
RMIT University’s Jared Cole has explained that the creation of a flux capacitor that would be constructed from a superconductor could solve the problem of electrical resistance once and for all.
“We propose two different possible circuits, one of which resembles the iconic three-pointed-star design of the cinematic flux capacitor. In it, quantum ‘tubes’ of magnetic flux can move around a central capacitor by a process known as quantum tunneling, where they overcome classically insurmountable obstacles.”
But as Professor Tom Stace from the University of Queensland was quick to point out, this flux capacitor won’t have the same capabilities as the one in Back to the Future and certainly won’t be allowing anyone to travel back in time. It will, however, cause signals to move in just one direction.
“Unfortunately this effect does not allow us to actually travel back in time. Instead, it means that signals circulate around the circuit in only one direction, much like cars on a roundabout.”
Physicists believe that the creation of a flux capacitor will help immensely with future technologies like a quantum computer, according to ETH Zurich’s Dr. Clemens Mueller.
“Our research makes an important step towards scaling up this technology, where researchers need to precisely direct control and measurement signals around a quantum computer.”
Other more immediate and practical uses for the device will include helping radars to achieve their greatest potential and the improvement of mobile phone technology and their electronic components.
If you would like to read more about the research behind this flux capacitor and learn about all of the things this device may be able to accomplish in the future, the new study can be read in Physical Review Letters.