The device, which has been developed by researchers in Switzerland and Australia, is a new generation electronic circulator that can be used to control the direction in which microwave signals move. Two designs have been proposed, one of which has a similar three-pronged look like its cinematic counterpart. Both designs require being built with superconductors, materials that have zero electrical resistance. The study is published in Physical Review Letters.
The flux capacitor works by having tubes of magnetic flux going through a central capacitor thanks to quantum tunneling, a property that allows particles and waves to travel through obstacles. In classical physics, these barriers would be insurmountable. If this property was available to us, we wouldn’t need to climb tall walls, we could simply try to walk through them.
The goal of the device is to break time-reversal symmetry. Many laws of physics behave the same if time is moving backward or if time is moving forward. Obviously, at the macroscopic level, we know many phenomena that break this symmetry. An egg breaking or us aging, are two examples where reversal isn’t possible. But at the quantum level, such events are not as common. They tend to be independent of time. The flux capacitor helps bring some time dependency in a microwave signaling system. And with that, a new way to control signals.
So, if it doesn’t allow us to travel through time why should we care? Well, this development allows the development of better electronics. It could improve mobile phones, Wi-Fi antennas, and even radars. And that’s just for current technology. The team thinks that will also play an important role in upcoming tech.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.