October 8, 2011 4:46
An experiment in which scientists make microscopic glass sphere exist in two different places at the same time, will be one of the most precise experiments in which to start checking some of the laws and postulates of quantum physics. Microscopic glass spheres, composed of millions of atoms in the experiment for a short time will be in the state of superposition, ie quite simply to be in two places at once.
Physicists have expressed doubts about the fact that the laws of quantum physics apply to objects larger than atoms, photons, and other elementary particles. These doubts have arisen after Erwin Schrödinger made public a thought experiment in which a cat exists in a superposition, being both alive and dead. The experiment known as "Schrödinger's cat."
A team of scientists from the Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching Max Planck, Germany, led by Romero-Isartom Auriol (Oriol Romero-Isart), is going to put a glass sphere with a diameter of 40 nanometers, in a small basin and cover it with a strong beam of laser light. Exposure to light should make the scope to move from one end of the cavity to the other. But as you know, the light of a quantum nature, changing the position of the glass spheres will also occur at the quantum level, which puts this field in a state of quantum superposition.
The experiment will be carried out in extremely high vacuum and at cryogenic temperatures, which would be the movement of the sphere is not affected by the thermal motion of the molecules of the material from which it is made, no air molecules.
Last year, Aaron O'Connell and colleagues at the University of California at Santa Barbara have demonstrated the ability to transfer to the state of a quantum superposition of the metal strip, a 60 micrometers. However, the physical distance between the two "copies" of the object located in different quantum states, is only about 1 femtometra, which is roughly the average size of the nucleus of an atom of matter.
In this experiment, the sphere will be in two different places without imposing its quantum copies of each other, ie, between copies of the facility will be a distance greater than the size of the object. In earlier experiments, which used the atomic interferometer, scientists have made a clear separation of quantum copies of fullerenes and other molecules, consisting of a few hundred atoms of matter. In the new experiment will attempt to obtain copies of the truly macroscopic quantum object, which is closer to the normal physical world than the quantum world of atoms and elementary particles.
Researchers around the world are looking forward to the results of this experiment. Observing the behavior of relatively large objects that obey the laws of quantum physics allow scientists to solve a lot of puzzles that are set before them the universe.