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.
Passive On-Chip Superconducting Circulator Using a Ring of Tunnel Junctions
Clemens Müller, Shengwei Guan, Nicolas Vogt, Jared H. Cole, Thomas M. Stace
Physicists invent flux capacitor, break time-reversal symmetry
Physicists invent flux capacitor, break time-reversal symmetry | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies
Scientists invented a real-life flux capacitor, but not for time travel
Documentaries, videos and podcasts
- Quantum tunnellingQuantum mechanical phenomenon
- Magnetic fluxPhysical quantity
- CapacitorElectrical component used to store energy for a short period of time
- Quantum computingThe study of computation systems that make use of quantum mechanical phenomena (eg entanglement and superposition). Quantum computers use qubits (rather than binary 0 and 1s) which can be in both states at the same time by being in a superposition of states.