07/29/2014

New technology to transfer magnetic fields to arbitrary long distances



A group of physicists has developed a new technology to transfer magnetic fields to arbitrary long distances, which is comparable to transmitting and routing light in optical fibers. Oriol Romero-Isart and his colleagues have theoretically proposed and already tested this new device experimentally.

Magnetic hose

"Our theoretical studies have shown that we need a material with extreme anisotropic properties to transfer and route static magnetic fields," explains theoretical physicist Romero-Isart. This means that the material has to have extremely good permeability in one direction but zero in the perpendicular direction. Since no material exists with such extreme anisotropy, the physicists designed a different strategy: They used a ferromagnetic cylinder and wrapped it with a superconductor shell. "Superconductors are perfect magnetic insulators," explains Romero-Isart. The researcher's calculations showed that a structure of alternated superconducting and soft ferromagnetic concentric cylindrical layers could transfer more than 90% of the magnetic field to any distance. Remarkably, the researchers also calculated that up to 75 % of the magnetic field can be transferred by using only a bilayer scheme - a ferromagnetic core with a superconducting outer layer.

Proof-of-principle experiment

After theoretically proposing this scheme, the team experimentally demonstrated such a device. They wrapped a ferromagnet made of cobalt and iron with a high-temperature superconductor and conducted several tests. "Even though our technical set-up wasn't perfect, we could show that the static magnetic field is transferred well by the hose," says Prof. Sanchez, the Catalan group leader of Oriol Romero-Isart's collaborators. This new method could be used, for example, for future quantum technology coupling distant quantum systems magnetically, applications in spintronics and other nano technologies.

» Original publication

Source: Universität Innsbruck