Interview with Dr. Boaz Almog, founder of the company developing the technology behind Quantum LevitationAdam Keith Milton-Barker | Sep 6, 2016 | Quantum Physics | 8635
During the last couple of years, advancements in the world of Quantum Physics have progressed massively, and we are beginning to see companies creating real world applications utilizing Quantum Physics. One of these companies is a company called Quantum Levitation, a company developing technology through the use of Quantum Physics, and educating the world about it. Recently we spoke with the founder, Dr. Boaz Almog, to find out more about their revolutionary work, and how they are using it to educate the world about Quantum Physics.
Quantum Levitation, previously known as Quantum Experience LTD, was formed in 2012. The company develop ground breaking technologies using Quantum Physics, and aim to help educate the world about Quantum Physics and science. Quantum Levitation provides a range of Quantum Physics products and kits that aim to inspire people to learn and/or educate others.
Organizations around the world use the technology provided by Quantum Levitation in their outreach programs including NASA, CERN, MIT, the Max Planck Institute and numerous universities and government organizations. One of the most popular and in demand kits is the Outreach Program Kit, an essential collection that was created to provide a comprehensive and affordable demonstration of quantum phenomena. The company takes great pride in receiving feedback from researchers, educators, students and others who have been mystified, delighted and intrigued by quantum levitation. One of their biggest enjoyments is when students send photos of the creative science projects they created with their kits.
There are many cool ways that Quantum Levitation technology is used, one really cool spinoff is the line of culinary serving dishes that the company offers. This unique way of utilizing Quantum Physics came about after a TED talk when a New York chef thought it would be neat to present dishes to his guests on a levitating platform.
The goal of the company is to harness the unique properties of superconductors to help make cleaner more efficient and sustainable machines.
The company uses superconductivity which is a quantum effect in which electrons condense into a stable, energetically favorable state. The characteristic properties of superconductors, such as the Meissner effect, are results of this quantum state in which the electrons "behave" distinctly differently than in classically observed states. Magnetic flux pinning, the underlying phenomenon that enables the quantum locking of their levitators, is a result of the quantum energetic state and other properties of the superconductor.
In addition to the scientific properties of quantum physics, there is a property to quantum physics that has a profound impact on physics education; namely that it is strikingly counterintuitive. Not only to students, but to educators as well, at times.
This is because:
- Many quantum phenomena occur at minute scales or under extreme conditions and are therefore not naturally observed under classroom conditions.
- Observable quantum effects, like the double slit experiment, do not fit in the classical Newtonian existence that we experience in our daily lives.
Exposing students to the counterintuitive nature of quantum effects, familiarizing them with modern physics early on, will better equip them to be the next generation of discoverers.
Quantum Levitation founder, Dr Boaz Almog, began his research in Quantum Physics during his Masters’ degree and later, his PhD at the superconductivity lab in Tel-Aviv University, headed by a renowned physicist – Prof. Guy Deutscher. While there Boaz constructed nano-structures that harnessed the quantum nature of electrons in the superconducting state (entanglement, phase coherence) in order to display unique quantum properties that would shed light on the mechanism behind superconductivity (which is still largely unknown for most superconductors).
Quantum Levitation was originally a side project at the superconductivity lab in Tel-Aviv University, where Boaz and his team were working on large superconducting layers on sapphire wafers. To demonstrate their work the team used a small magnet suspended on top of a superconductor, and it became apparent that if the superconductor was good enough, the demonstration could be performed the opposite way round. The team actually made bets on whether it would work, a bet which Boaz lost, this bet lead to the breakthrough that saw the start of Quantum Levitation.
...the actual experiment involved a bet with my colleagues whether it would work. I lost the bet!
Once it was confirmed, the next step was to expose the amazing phenomenon to the world, and enlighten the public about this exciting finding. At the ASTC (Association of Science – Technology Centers) conference in 2012, Dr. Almog revealed their breakthrough to the world, leading to a video that went viral online. Following this Boaz spoke at TED and numerous public appearances including the New York Science Festival and UP conference.
From the beginning we had two goals, which we still live by today – education and R&D, developing the technology behind Quantum Levitation and informing the public about this exciting technology.
Initially Boaz was researching ways to make better and more efficient superconductors, but when he stumbled upon the outstanding levitation properties of thin layer YBCO, Yttrium Barium Copper Oxide, the potential became immediately apparent to Boaz. With Quantum Levitation, Boaz and his team hope to revolutionize the transportation industry, developing game changing technology.
One of the fundamental hurdles that Quantum Experience faced was the fact that a large majority of the world does not understand about Quantum Physics and science in general. One of the biggest challenges they face is finding educators that will engage and inspire the world about Quantum Physics using their technology.
We'll consider our mission successful when the fundamentals of science, physics and quantum physics are familiar concepts understood by everyone. We're doing our part by making quantum effects an experience you can witness firsthand.
In replies on Quantum Levitation videos, one thing that was said numerous times was that this technology was simply magnetic. I asked Boaz what he thought about these statements and he explained that first and foremost, all magnetic systems originate from quantum physics. It is the quantum nature of magnetism that makes stable, persistent magnetic fields possible. So there's nothing simple about magnetic systems. Addressing the idea that stable levitation and spatial locking seen in their videos are any way related to magnetic repulsion, he urged people to create a demonstration to show how this could be carried out with magnets.
If you've played a bit with magnets, you have an intuition as to the nature of the field involved. The energetically favorable place for two opposing magnets to be is far from each other. In Quantum Locking, the favorable state is the position in which the levitator was locked into the magnetic field. This is a significantly different and in many ways favorable characteristic.
Quantum Physics In General:
I took the opportunity to ask Boaz about a couple of Quantum Physics theories that are constantly debated, my first question was what he thought about the multiverse theory, to which his reply was:
The real world is far more complex than the one the mechanics of classical physics describe. The mathematically foreseen physics of discrete quantities we experience at subatomic levels has parallels at the largest of macroscopic levels. Until proven otherwise, the math makes it clear that the world is much more complex and , well, strange than we can grasp by our senses and intuition alone.
Wrapping It Up:
Quantum Levitation understand that to attain expertise in advanced physics requires commitment and enthusiasm early on. With this in mind this is why the feel that their products have great value and play a crucial role in the education about Quantum Physics. They hope to inspire and ignite curiosity about Quantum Physics and hope that their work will motivate people to look for answers and pose new questions.
Below you will find some videos and photos and you can also find out more by visiting their official website or following them on Facebook. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Almog and his team, and to congratulate them on the amazing progress they are making with Quantum Physics and educating the world about it.I look forward to following their work in the future and helping to share their progress.