Great Scott! Scientists just invented a ‘flux capacitor’ for quantum computers

On November 5th 1955 the fictional Doctor Emmitt Brown was hanging a clock in his bathroom when he slipped and hit his head on the side of a sink. As he recovered from the blow, he had a vision: he would build the flux capacitor and thereby make time travel possible.

A not-fictional team of scientists from Australia and Switzerland recently invented one in real life. But don’t go nuts: it breaks time-reversal symmetry, but it does not make time travel possible.

What it does: The real-life flux capacitor is like a tuning fork for quantum systems. It channels microwaves in a specific direction, basically. Scientists think it could be used to fight the noise problem with quantum bits (qubits).

How it works: Just like all things based on the wacky world of quantum physics, it defies the laws of the natural world. In this case, the device whips microwaves around a central capacitor through a process called quantum tunneling.

Credit: Pinavia