“Wormholes” — Now Found in More Than Compost

[DIGEST: Nature, Physical Review Letters, Lab Manager, Fox News]

Science fiction novels, television and movies are riddled with wormholes, places where a spaceship can fly through a mysterious field and wind up in a completely different place. While physicists have proposed theories for how we might generate such gravitational wormholes, current technology does yet not allow for the creation of the massive energy required to create such a phenomenon.

In 2007, a group of mathematicians offered suggestions for how to create a “magnetic wormhole” that would begin with a magnetic field in one place and end with the field in another location. To be classified as a wormhole, the space between the beginning and end of the fields would need to be undetectable. Until recently, these theories proved to be unworkable because the space between magnetic fields was not hidden, or cloaked, effectively.

But on September 3, physicists Jordi Prat-Camps, Carles Navau, and Alvaro Sanchez from the Autonomous University of Barcelona published the results of their successful creation of a magnetic wormhole. To mount the impossible, they built a separate area of three-dimensional space using three layers of metamaterials and metasurfaces. Because of the difficulties with previous attempts, the researchers focused their efforts on finding a way to cloak the space between fields. Metamaterials and metasurfaces are created when two existing natural elements are combined and the new hybrid materials act in ways that the existing elements are not capable of on their own. They can even alter physical phenomena such as light and sound.

Recent research into metamaterials conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley has resulted in the creation of invisibility cloaks that hide small objects by distorting light, making them look

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