What if quantum physics worked on a macroscopic level?

Jul 25, 2013

Quantum physics concerns a world of infinitely small things. But for years, researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have been attempting to observe the properties of quantum physics on a larger scale, even macroscopic. In January 2011, they managed to entangle crystals, therefore surpassing the atomic dimension. Now, Professor Nicolas Gisin's team has successfully entangled two optic fibers, populated by 500 photons. Unlike previous experiments which were carried out with the fiber optics of one photon, this new feat (which has been published in Nature Physics) begins to answer a fundamental question: can quantum properties survive on a macroscopic level?

For thirty years, physicists have been able to entangle photon pairs (particles of light). Thus, an action on the first particle will have an instant impact on the second, regardless of the distance and the obstacles between them. It occurs as if it were one single photon present at two different places. With this feat in mind, one question remains: can larger elements be entangled on a macroscopic level?

It would seem intuitive to think that the rules of physics that apply at the would be transferable to the macroscopic world. However, attempts to prove this have not been easy. In fact, when the size of a increases, it interacts more and more with its surrounding environment, which rapidly destroys its quantum properties. This phenomenon, known as , is one of the limitations on the capability of macroscopic systems to retain their quantum properties.

From micro to macroscopic

Despite these limitations, and due to technological advances, scientists from UNIGE's Faculty of Science were able to entangle two fiber optics populated by 500 photons, unlike those that were previously entangled to only one photon.

To do this, the team led by Nicolas Gisin, professor in the Physics Section, created an entanglement between two on a microscopic level before moving it to the macroscopic level. The entangled state survived the transition to a larger-scale world and the phenomenon could even be observed with the traditional means of detection, i.e. practically with the naked eye.

In order to verify that the entanglement survived in the , the physicists reconverted the phenomenon at the microscopic level.

"This first large-scale experiment paves the way for many applications that quantum physics offers. The entanglement at the macroscopic level is one of the main research areas in the field, and we hope to entangle increasingly large objects in the years to come," said Professor Gisin.

Explore further: Attack on classical cryptography system raises security questions

Related Stories

Two crystals linked by quantum physics

Mar 05, 2012

Physicists take a perverse pleasure in playing with the strangeness of the quantum world. That's how they have managed to entangle minuscule objects such as photons. After specific manipulations, they persuade two photons ...

Recommended for you

Controlling light on a chip at the single-photon level

Dec 16, 2014

Integrating optics and electronics into systems such as fiber-optic data links has revolutionized how we transmit information. A second revolution awaits as researchers seek to develop chips in which individual ...

Fraud-proof credit cards possible with quantum physics

Dec 15, 2014

Credit card fraud and identify theft are serious problems for consumers and industries. Though corporations and individuals work to improve safeguards, it has become increasingly difficult to protect financial ...

An Interview with Thomas Vidick on quantum code cracking

Dec 15, 2014

Quantum computers, looked to as the next generation of computing technology, are expected to one day vastly outperform conventional computers. Using the laws of quantum mechanics—the physics that governs ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (13) Jul 25, 2013
"This first large-scale experiment paves the way for many applications that quantum physics offers. The entanglement at the macroscopic level is one of the main research areas in the field, and we hope to entangle increasingly large objects in the years to come," said Professor Gisin.


It seems impossible to entangle for large objects such as gun's bullet, unless its moving could create a co-moving wave (wave –particle, like electron) which is the basic property of quantum mechanics…
http://www.vacuum...17〈=en
hemitite
1 / 5 (1) Jul 25, 2013
On a really macro level, if two universes (universi?) were entangled, would the appearance of observers in one of them be a cause of decoherance? Before that happened, maybe everything would have existed it both universe.
jlevyellow
1 / 5 (5) Jul 25, 2013
Seems like this phenomenon may yield an explanation for love. Not joking!
MikeBowler
3.3 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2013
quantum physics on the macroscale? how about superfluids? lets be honest superfluids are known to do some pretty weird things in comparison to everyday fluids such as air and water
geokstr
1 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2013
If quantum physics worked on the macro level, then PETA would never be able to tell if the cats were all dead unless they opened the oven.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.