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Quantum Levitation Video Demos Still Astound, Despite Hoaxes (video, explainer)

Gina Smith
Written by Gina Smith

A quantum levitation video isn’t your typical demo — and it is definitely not your typical Youtube viral phenom. This 2011 video purportedly shows Tel Aviv University researchers demonstrating quantum levitation of materials using quantum magnetic forces. This demo isn’t new — but it bears watching again if you missed it.

Astounding. Especially in the light of this week’s Higgs boson news from CERN.


Video courtesy of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), representing the science center and museum field worldwide. On Twitter: @ScienceCenters.

Ever since, there has been a lot of scrutiny on levitation videos on Youtube. Breathe easy, physics fans. Tel Aviv U reps tell aNewDomain.net the videos, once derided as hoaxes, are real. The one reportedly debunked as a hoax was this one.

The hoax, as apparently revealed by Z6 last year, did not extend to the Tel Aviv work. Whew.

Posted a year ago, the ASTC video on Youtube in 2011 has had jaws dropping ever since it dropped on Youtube and went viral. Universities of Tel Aviv researchers back it up and say the urban myth denying quantum levitation is real. Check out what it is below. Below the fold, see an excerpt on how it works with a link to a page with far more detail.

For physics and chem geeks, here’s deeper detail on how it works, according to QuantumLevitation:

We start with a single crystal sapphire wafer and coat it with a thin (~1µm thick) ceramic material called yttrium barium copper oxide (YBa2Cu3O7-x ). The ceramic layer has no interesting magnetic or electrical properties at room temperature. However, when cooled below -185ºC (-301ºF) the material becomes a superconductor. It conducts electricity without resistance, with no energy loss. Zero.
Superconductivity and magnetic field do not like each other. When possible, the superconductor will expel all magnetic fields from inside. This is the Meissner effect. In our case, since the superconductor is extremely thin, the magnetic field DOES penetrate. However, it does that in discrete quantities (this is quantum physics after all! ) called flux tubes.

About the author

Gina Smith

Gina Smith

Gina Smith is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist online, in print, radio and national TV. A former correspondent for ABC News, Gina is the co-founder and editorial director of aNewDomain Media. Email Gina at gina@anewdomain.net find her on Twitter @ginasmith888

  • The Trilobyte is impressed. And we’ve been around since 600,000,000 BC.