Quantum physics could confuse the cloud of atoms. How is this possible?


The quantum world of atoms and particles of the weird and wonderful. On a quantum level particles can penetrate impenetrable barriers, and to be in two places at the same time. However, the strange properties of quantum mechanics is not mathematical quirks, these are real effects that can be observed in the laboratory again and again. One of the most characteristic features of quantum mechanics is “entanglement”. Entangled particles remain mysteriously connected at any distance. And so the three independent European group of scientists has managed to confuse not just a few particles, as it did before, and separate clouds of thousands of atoms. They also found a way to exploit the technological potential of their achievements.

When particles are entangled, they share properties which make them dependent on each other, even if they are separated by billions of kilometers. Einstein called entanglement “spooky action at a distance”, because the change of a single particle in a confusing pair it instantly affects a couple regardless of how it is far.

How to use quantum entanglement?

Although the confusion may seem to some magic, experiments have shown that it exists for many years. And it can also be extremely useful — thus the associated particles can be used to transfer quantum States of a particle, such as spin, from one place to another instantly (teleport). They can also help in storing huge amounts of information in a certain volume (superdense coding).

In addition to the ability to store information, confusion can also help in connecting and combining computer power systems in different parts of the globe. It is easy to understand that this makes it an important aspect of quantum computing. Another promising direction is truly secure communication. All because any attempt to intervene in the system with entangled particles will instantly break the entanglement, making obvious the fact of burglary of a communication channel.

Entangled photons can also be used to improve the resolution of imaging techniques. Scientists from the University of Waterloo currently hope to develop quantum radar that can detect aircraft such as the stealth.

Vortices in the condensate of Bose — Einstein

However, deployment of technology on the basis of entanglement is not so simple. Because entanglement is a very fragile phenomenon. Experiments with involvement typically produce individual pairs of particles. However, single particles with a precision difficult to detect, and they often get lost or hidden in the surrounding noise. So the challenge is to put them in a state of confusion, manipulate them to perform useful operations, and finally simply use all it’s incredibly hard to pull off in practice.

Quantum cloud

A new study, published in three papers in Science, has led to a significant breakthrough. Instead of taking individual particles and confuse them into one, the scientists started with zwergholdrio gas — Assembly of thousands of atoms. They are cooled almost to the temperature of absolute zero.

Trapped in a small volume, the atoms in this cloud become indistinguishable from each other and form a new state of matter, known as condensate Bose — Einstein. The atoms in the cloud begin to work together — now they are confused. For the first time this state of matter was discovered in 1995, for which he received the Nobel prize in physics in 2001. Although it has long been known that this method confuses thousands of atoms simultaneously, no one has yet demonstrated a method that will allow you to do it. Still.

Scientists who conducted a new study showed that these clouds can be divided into groups and between the atoms will remain for quantum communication. How did they do it? Released atoms from a limited space and used a laser to break them and measure the properties of individual parts of a large cloud.

Scientists suggest that the methods developed can be expanded so that each atom in the cloud to be used independently. And if this can be done, for quantum computing it would be just fabulous. In digital computing, the information is processed in the form of zeros and ones, or bits. In the quantum to replace them come the qubits. The current record of the number of working qubits in the entangled ions (charged atoms) only 20, so thousands of qubits, which simultaneously operate in the cloud will represent a major achievement.

Another area that will benefit from this breakthrough, — Metrology, the science of precise measurements. When two particles or systems formed confusion, measurements made on one half, reveal information about the other. This allows to measure the parameters with greater sensitivity than would be possible otherwise. Confusion, used in this manner can improve the accuracy of atomic clocks and global positioning system (GPS), or assist in the production of more sensitive detectors for MRI machines, for example.

The understanding and use of quantum effects, such as confusion, will create new technology capabilities that will exceed our modern. Why so much attention is given to research in the field of quantum technology and why it is so important any breakthroughs in this area.

Quantum physics could confuse the cloud of atoms. How is this possible?
Ilya Hel