In a paper called “A Magnetic Wormhole” by Jordi Prat-Camps, Carles Nava & Alvaro Sanchez published in Scientific Reports they report that they have designed and created in the laboratory the first experimental ‘wormhole’ that can connect two regions of space magnetically.
And amazingly enough, the scientists at the Department of Physics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona report that it consists of a tunnel that transfers the magnetic field from one point to the other while keeping it undetectable — invisible — all the way.
They used metamaterials and metasurfaces to build the tunnel experimentally, so that the magnetic field from a source, such as a magnet or a an electromagnet, appears at the other end of the ‘wormhole’ as an isolated magnetic monopole. This result is strange enough in itself, as magnetic monopoles — magnets with only one pole, whether north or south — do not exist in nature. The overall effect is that of a magnetic field that appears to travel from one point to another through a dimension that lies outside the conventional three dimensions. The ‘wormhole’ in this experiment is a sphere made of different layers: an external layer with a ferromagnetic surface, a second inner layer, made of superconducting material, and a ferromagnetic sheet rolled into a cylinder that crosses the sphere from one end to the other. The sphere is made in such a way as to be magnetically undetectable — invisible, in magnetic field terms — from the exterior.
The magnetic wormhole is an analogy of gravitational ones, as it “changes the topology of space as if the inner region has been magnetically erased from space,” explains Àlvar Sánchez, the lead researcher. They’re discussion includes:
Although we have constructed a spherical wormhole, similar results can be obtained for the shape of an elongated ellipsoid that could extend to long distances in one direction. These ideas may be applied in devices requiring the local application of magnetic fields in a particular magnetic background that should not be distorted. One particularly relevant application along this line could be in magnetic resonance imaging. Using the ideas in this work, one could foresee ways to apply a magnetic field locally to a patient, without distorting the homogenous magnetic field in the region. They could be useful, for example, in medical operations using simultaneous MRI imaging.
To sum up, we have demonstrated that the ideas in Ref. of effectively changing the topology of space can be realized with magnetic fields, not only as an abstract paradigm, but by constructing an actual 3D spatial wormhole and measuring its properties. Our wormhole appears roughly as a sphere in most regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, including visible light. However, with respect to magnetic fields, the object allows the passage of field lines through its interior while being magnetically invisible. The situation is analogous as having the magnetic field propagating through a handlebody attached to the R space. In this way, the magnetic field of a dipole entering in one end of the wormhole appears as a monopolar-like field at the other end. These ideas can be useful in practical situations where magnetic fields have to be transferred without distorting a given field distribution, as in magnetic resonance imaging.
These same researchers had already built a magnetic fibre in 2014: a device capable of transporting the magnetic field from one end to the other. This fibre was, however, detectable magnetically. The wormhole developed now, though, is a completely three-dimensional device that is undetectable by any magnetic field.
This means a step forward towards possible applications in which magnetic fields are used: in medicine for example. This technology could, for example, increase patients’ comfort by distancing them from the detectors when having MRI scans in the hospital and allow MRI images of different parts of the body to be obtained simultaneously.
Materials provided by Autonomous University of Barcelona.Note: Content may be edited for style and length.