Professor Oriol Romero-Isart and his team of researchers at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at University of Innsbruck, in conjunction with other institutions, have demonstrated the feasibility of a stable formation of levitating nanomagnets previously thought to be impossible.
Since 1842, the Earnshaw theorem has proposed that such a configuration should collapse with minimal disturbance. However, using stability analyses based on the magnets’ radii and the magnetic field strength, the physicists discovered that equilibrium can be achieved through the gyromagnetic effect — when the direction of the magnetic field changes, the electron’s quantum angular momentum, also known as electron spin, couples with the magnetic moment and thus maintains the stability of the levitating nanomagnet.
Professor Romero-Isart expressed optimism that the results would soon be replicable in real life. As part of a brand new field of physics, levitated nanomagnets hold significant potential in contributing towards quantum research and in developing technical apparatus such as high precision sensors.