The Effect of Varying Temperatures and Laser Treatment on the Effectiveness of Diamagnetic Levitation Systems

Research conducted in 2012 by Jiro Abe and Masayuki Kobayashi concluded that a high-power laser can be used for optical motion control of a diamagnetically levitating pyrolytic graphite disc. Since pyrolytic graphite is among the only materials that is strongly diamagnetic at room temperature, and its magnetic susceptibility is dependent on its temperature, heating up various points on a diamagnetically levitating disc can propel it along a bed of permanent neodymium magnets. Such a system could be used to implement light-based transportation; however, environmental temperature changes could possibly affect the efficacy of these systems. This experiment was designed to determine what effect, if any, the temperature of a pyrolytic graphite disc, temperature of a bed of neodymium magnets, and laser treatment have on the effectiveness of diamagnetic levitation systems. To test these factors, a graphite disc and a bed of magnets were heated to varying temperatures between 0 C and 40 C. Then the magnets were put on a slight incline and the pyrolytic graphite disc was set at the top. A laser was placed at the end of the track and was aimed at the edge of the pyrolytic disc as it traveled down the incline. It was determined that none of the factors had a significant effect on the travel time of the graphite disc, though there was a possible interaction between the magnet temperature and the laser treatment; travel time seemed to decrease when magnet temperature was held low, but only if laser treatment was also held high. More research would be necessary to explore this possible interaction.

Research Conducted By:

Brian Nackoud
Sterling Heights High School

Matthew Polgar
Sterling Heights High School