A wormhole is a hypothetical space tunnel that can connect two separate points in space and time. This means it can shortcut any distance between the two points in the fabric of space-time. Wormholes were predicted by Einstein, through his Theory of General Relativity, but no one has detected such a thing yet, let alone design and create one.
It is impossible to build a gravitational wormhole through our current level of technology; you just have to manage an immense amount of negative gravitational energy. However, in the field of electromagnetism things are not that complicated. A team of physicists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona have actually made the world’s first magnetic wormhole.
It doesn’t look like a regular gravitational wormhole, from Interstellar but it behaves in much the same way as one, except it runs on an electromagnetic field. The recent advances in metamaterials or metasurfaces have made it possible to build an artificial wormhole. The wormhole made by the team of researchers from Spain consists of a three-layered sphere and an electromagnetic field that passes through it.
The external layer is made of a ferromagnetic surface, the middle layer is made from a superconducting material and the internal ferromagnetic layer is shaped like a cylinder that crosses the sphere through the inside. When the sphere is engulfed by an electromagnetic field, the magnetic field lines from one end appear at the other end of the wormhole tunnel as an isolated magnetic monopole (a magnet with just one pole, either north or south). The magnetic field is completely invisible, due the materials that were used.
“We experimentally show that the magnetic field from a source at one end of the wormhole appears at the other end as an isolated magnetic mono-polar field, creating the illusion of a magnetic field propagating through a tunnel outside the 3D space. The magnetic wormhole is an analogy of gravitational ones, as it changes the topology of space, as if the inner region has been magnetically erased from space,” said Professor Alvaro Sanchez, the lead researcher.
The possible near future applications of this experiment are in medicine. For example, it would be possible to take a picture of the human body through an MRI scanner, but from a distance. “If a cylindrical device could funnel a magnetic field from one spot to the other, it would be possible to take pictures of the body with the strong magnet placed far away, freeing people from the claustrophobic environment of an MRI machine”, said Jordi Prat-Camps, member of the team.
The study is published in Scientific Reports online journal.