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Flux capacitor

Flux capacitor

The flux capacitor is a theoretical electronic circulator device that uses quantum tunneling of magnetic flux around a capacitor. It is also a fictional component used in the film Back to the Future to cause time travel.

The flux capacitor is a theoretical electronic circulator device that uses quantum tunneling of magnetic flux around a capacitor. Signals circulate around the circuit in one particular direction, hence the term 'circulator'.

Two possible circuits were proposed by the Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence: the Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS), the Centre for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET) and Swiss (ETH Zurich) physicists on 23rd of May, 2018 in the publication Physical Review Letters. It uses a ring of superconducting tunnel junctions . Applications include better antennas, radar systems, quantum computers and electronics in general.

The device also has possible applications in isolating experimental apparatus, for example, in sensitive quantum systems.

Broken time-reversal symmetry is claimed to occur using a combination of electric and magnetic fields.

References in popular culture

The film Back to the Future (1985) references the flux capacitor component which is used to travel through time. The authors of the seminal academic paper on the flux capacitor say that it cannot be used for time travel, however the circuit has some visual resemblance to the circuit used in the movie.

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Clemens Müller, Shengwei Guan, Nicolas Vogt, Jared H. Cole, Thomas M. Stace

Passive On-Chip Superconducting Circulator Using a Ring of Tunnel Junctions

Academic paper

Physicists invent flux capacitor, break time-reversal symmetry

Scientists invented a real-life flux capacitor, but not for time travel

Physicists invent flux capacitor, break time-reversal symmetry | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

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