Research pair offer a way to put a living organism into superposition state

September 24, 2015 by Bob Yirka report
Schrödinger's cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other. Credit: Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

(Phys.org)—A pair of physicists, one with Tsinghua University in China, the other with Perdue University in the U.S. has come up with what they believe is a viable way to cause a living organism to be in two places at the same time. In the paper they have posted to the arXiv server, Zhang-Qi Yin and Tongcang Li suggest that an experiment conducted at the University of Colorado recently, could be modified by placing a living organism into a superposition state, rather than using just a piece of metal.

The research pair liken their experimental idea to bringing to life to the famous Schrödinger thought experiment that involved a cat and other items placed in a closed box—or perhaps more poetically, comparing it to fairy tales where a fairy can exist in more than one place at the same time. Superposition, is of course, a principle of quantum theory that describes a concept where two objects can exist in more than one physical location at the same exact moment.

Two years ago, researchers at the University of Colorado put a very small vibrating aluminum into a superposition state—Li and Yin believe that if a microbe were put on the same type of membrane it could be put into a superposition state along with the membrane. They note that to date, no one has put any sort of into a superposition state, despite a lot of interest in doing so by both academics and the public at large.

More specifically, the team suggests the way to make it work would involve cooling a common bacterium down to approximately 10mK to prevent chemical activity from taking place and energy from being exchanged with the environment, then causing the microbe to adhere to the membrane using natural forces. That should be enough, they theorize, to allow for the bacterium to be put into a superposition state along with the oscillating membrane.

The scheme does raise the question of whether the organism is in fact living (but then so does Schrödinger's cat) because the microbe would be frozen solid—not dead, necessarily, because once warmed, it would wake and once again act like a living organism. The research pair note that they have no idea at this point how superposition might work with an active organism.

They also suggest that if anyone were to actually carry out their ideas via experiment, they might also consider doing another experiment, one that would use the same equipment and microbe, where the position of a microbe would be entangled with the spin of an atom residing inside of it—a way of testing for defective protein DNA inside of a living organism.

Explore further: Researchers devise a means to 'gently' measure qubit without destroying superposition

More information: Quantum superposition, entanglement, and state teleportation of a microorganism on an electromechanical oscillator, arXiv:1509.03763 [quant-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1509.03763

Abstract
Schrodinger's thought experiment to prepare a cat in a superposition of both alive and dead states reveals profound consequences of quantum mechanics and has attracted enormous interests. Here we propose a straightforward method to create quantum superposition states of a living microorganism by putting a small bacterium on top of an electromechanical oscillator. Our proposal is based on recent developments that the center-of-mass oscillation of a 15-μm-diameter aluminium membrane has been cooled to its quantum ground state [Nature 475, 359 (2011)], and entangled with a microwave field [Science, 342, 710 (2013)]. A microorganism with a mass much smaller than the mass of the electromechanical membrane will not significantly affect the quality factor of the membrane and can be cooled to the quantum ground state together with the membrane. Quantum superposition and teleportation of its center-of-mass motion state can be realized with the help of superconducting microwave circuits. More importantly, the internal states of a microorganism, such as the electron spin of a glycine radical, can be prepared in a quantum superposition state and entangled with its center-of-mass motion. Our proposal can be realized with state-of-art technologies. The proposed setup is also a quantum-limited magnetic resonance force microscope (MRFM) that not only can detect the existence of an electron spin, but also can coherently manipulate and detect the quantum state of the spin.

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quaeler
5 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2015
Perdue University - is that where chickens go for higher education? (it's Purdue)
holographic_consciousness
not rated yet Sep 24, 2015
Just Imagine when a intelligent being like a Dog or Human gets put in a SUPERPOSITION STATE, Being Dead or Alive or Living as Many Different Version of you in Parallel Universes is just so hard to imagine. This will be one of the greatest breakthroughs ever if they do a small organism and if it turn out to be correct.
rastepas
5 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2015
teleportation and programmable stargates. nice
Osiris1
not rated yet Sep 24, 2015
Possible use is in teleportation. AS one fades the other comes into focus at the new location.
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2015
OK, enough QM magic. Consider a field of any polarity located at the center of a charge. This field has the same response as if a particle existed in the direction of the Poynting Vector with the same value as the magnitude [square root of the quantity ( 4 Pi E ), E the "electric" field magnitude]; anyway, you get the point. The polarity of this ghost particle as seen from the actual point charge under discussion is -/+. The minus would be the negative value of the E, an element of set (+1,-1). So, what the H E double hockey sticks are you trying to prove, a statistical "measure" or an "existence" proof via demonstration. I just described actuality at any instant and point in space-time, you describe the best statistical realize-ability and probability of even existing. I choose actuality. waste of precious resources, i.e. the enemy of imagination.
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2015
To bad one did not specifically define each item of superposition. Try a single charge, unit-less, placed into a 4d space. each dimension a distance of length, where lambda nu = c, ct = lambda, hence equal units upon each axis. Since each axis is of the same units, we assume an unknown unit of null, and isomorphic space, charge is arbitrary, space-time is defined based upon the total set of initial conditions. So with proper data upon placing the "cat in the box" we derive at only one set of conditions in the space-time. Your idea of reality has too many round-off errors, i.e. % probability.

Too many short cuts.
DarkLordKelvin
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2015
Perdue University - is that where chickens go for higher education? (it's Purdue)

I noticed that too :) .. I guess the "living organisms" they wanted to superpose were chickens then? That would make opening a Perdue broiler pack potentially a lot more exciting I guess ...
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2015
OK, enough QM magic. Consider a field of any polarity located at the center of a charge. This field has the same response as if a particle existed in the direction of the Poynting Vector with the same value as the magnitude [square root of the quantity ( 4 Pi E ), E the "electric" field magnitude]; anyway, you get the point. The polarity of this ghost particle as seen from the actual point charge under discussion is -/+. The minus would be the negative value of the E, an element of set (+1,-1). So, what the H E double hockey sticks are you trying to prove, a statistical "measure" or an "existence" proof via demonstration. I just described actuality at any instant and point in space-time, you describe the best statistical realize-ability and probability of even existing. I choose actuality. waste of precious resources, i.e. the enemy of imagination.

meant to say, r from the actual charge to the ghost particle is equal to the -/+ the inverse of the square-root .
Hyperfuzzy
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2015
Anyway, a complete superposition of all time and space, you can probably get this nutty answer, but in reality, only reality follows 1 state to another state-space, not the simultaneity of all state-spaces that "might exist", that's only a statistical probability without merit for precision and actuality. Nice try Yirka, worthy of a PhD dissertation, but the present state of our theory is not factual. First let's fix that and stop looking for magic tricks.

You even have a value for your uncertainty that might be very large, with respect to reality. i.e. every point is your space-time.
ogg_ogg
not rated yet Sep 24, 2015
Perdue is where chickens go to get fried, of course. Its a real party school. Ah, higher education! We all know that a Boilermaker is an alcoholic drink, right? How many other University nick-names involve sex, drugs or alcohol?
ogg_ogg
not rated yet Sep 24, 2015
As a Purdue educated chemist, I find the illustration showing an open flask breaking to be dumb. The original thought experiment was a sealed flask of hydrogen cyanide, (which USA started using in execution chambers in the 1920's and continues (a few States) today, not sure if Germany used it after WWI (and before 1941) Schrodinger's paper was published in 1935) placed where the cat could not get at it and a radioisotope with a 50% likelyhood of creating a detected decay in one hour. (details such as the fact that geiger counters are not 100% efficient, so that there is considerable difference between an average of ½ decay being detected per hour and ½ decay occurring per hour, as well as extraneous ionizing radiation causing a false positive, are ignored).
Eikka
1 / 5 (2) Sep 24, 2015
The problem with the Shrödigers cat thought experiment is that things we cannot interact with don't exist. As in, if there is no possible way to gain information of an object, it is not real.

In fact, the cat we put inside the perfectly isolating box has to get destroyed the moment we close the lid because we can't make energy dissapear.

But exactly due to the conservation of information/energy, the information that a cat has been put in the box remains outside of the box, and so when the lid is opened the cat is made anew because our reality dictates that a cat went in, and so it also dictates that a cat must come out, and whether the cat is alive or dead depends entirely on what happens outside of the box.

Similiarily, when we put some particle into superposition, we simply remove some of its properties and move them outside of the particle, and create the property again with that information once we again observe it.
johnhew
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2015
Words no longer have any meaning.
What two places will this guy be in?
You just stick a superconducting antifreeze protein from on an aluminum membrane and Bob's your uncle.
Noumenon
3 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2015
Similiarily, when we put some particle into superposition, we simply remove some of its properties and move them outside of the particle, and create the property again with that information once we again observe it.


If the property is removed, then what is left behind?

It could be that the underlying reality has no 'properties' per se,... but is conceptually formless (as it exists independent of observation),... so that 'properties' become a manifestation of the process of observation.

For example, the underlying reality is not a 'particle' nor a 'wave', ... but rather these are conceptual forms in which they are necessarily observed given the nature of mind operating at the macroscopic scale,... i.e. dependent upon the experimental arrangement.

bluehigh
5 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2015
The problem with the Shrödigers cat thought experiment is that things we cannot interact with don't exist. As in, if there is no possible way to gain information of an object, it is not real.
- Eikka

For you, not us (we). If I can gain information of an object then the object exists. If I can't communicate the information to you (and you can't independently aquire the information) then you may not know of the objects existence, however that does not diminish its reality.

ichisan
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2015
Crackpottery in academia. Who would have thought?
Quantum Magician
3 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2015
The whole Copenhagen take on the Schrödinger's Cat thought-experiment is based on 2 fundamental premises:
• that nuclear decay is a truely random process, and
• that by closing the lid, the contents of the box become "causaly disconnected" from anything that's outside of the box (eg. unobservable).

Needless to say, that any of these 2 postulates being wrong would render the entire thought-experiment baseless.

I'm not going to argue much about the first premise here - only point out that "random" is a human concept without any real base in maths.

But at least in case of the second premise (causal disconnect) one does not have to be a very bright spark to conclude that it is an instance of an "idealized state" - which, should not really exist, right?

Ergo: closing the lid does not make the contents of the box dissapear from our universe - they still remain a part of it. Energy is not created, nor destroyed.

I'll leave the conclusion open to the occasional reader.
big_hairy_jimbo
not rated yet Sep 24, 2015
Wouldn't cooling a bacterium down to 10mK completely destroy the bacterium?

I also wouldn't call it alive either.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2015
Wouldn't cooling a bacterium down to 10mK completely destroy the bacterium?

It would reneder it inert - but not necessarily dead (why should it?)

But at least in case of the second premise (causal disconnect) one does not have to be a very bright spark to conclude that it is an instance of an "idealized state" - which, should not really exist, right?

E.g. the stuff inside a black hole is causally disconnected from anything outside (at least one way).
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Sep 25, 2015
For you, not us (we). If I can gain information of an object then the object exists. If I can't communicate the information to you (and you can't independently aquire the information) then you may not know of the objects existence, however that does not diminish its reality.


If you can measure the object, and I can measure you, then I can measure the object. When nobody can measure the object, it doesn't exist. That was the point.

If I can't measure you, then you don't exist for me, and I don't exist for you because we're obviously in different realities (universes?) that don't overlap.

The fundamental question is, whether we can actually do that in the first place because of the conservation of energy. I can't step out of your reality because that would mean the dissapearance of energy. If the conservation of energy is to be maintained, an equal amount of energy/information must remain with you, which means that I get duplicated or destroyed as I try to leave.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2015
... which means that I get duplicated or destroyed as I try to leave.

And I'm strongly in favor of the latter, because for the reality I would enter as I exit yours, it would mean the sudden appearance of energy which is again violating the conservation principle by not explaining where the energy comes from. I can't just arbitrarily make copies of myself, so while my energy remains with you, I must be destroyed in the process of trying to make my exit.

So, when we put the cat in the box that makes it perfectly unobserveable and therefore not real, we actually destroy the cat by attempting to put it outside of our reality because the energy and information of the cat must remain in our reality.

So there isn't any cat in the box while it's closed. When the box is opened, the cat is reconstituted.

Similiarily, when we take a particle and put it to superposition, we remove information from it, and put it back together by measuring it.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2015
For example, the underlying reality is not a 'particle' nor a 'wave', ... but rather these are conceptual forms in which they are necessarily observed given the nature of mind operating at the macroscopic scale,... i.e. dependent upon the experimental arrangement.


That's the basic gist of it.

All we have to do from there is to not forget that these minds also consist of the same underlying reality, so we don't go off into mysticism by having to explain the mind as a separate entity. In this sense, a rock is a "mind" that observes - it just does so in a different manner than a person would.

All real properties are borne of interaction. A rock wouldn't be hard if there were no soft fingers to touch it.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2015
I wonder if it would be possible to measure or prove mathematically that the energy embedded in a pair of entangled photons is less before a measurement puts the pair into a defined order?

In other words, when say the polarization of the pair is in superposition, the energy of the pair is less than when the polarization gets measured and the superposition collapses.

Such as, suppose we shoot a photon through a device which randomly puts it through one of two paths with filters which change its polarization. It should be that the energy required for the photon to travel through both is less than the energy required to travel through one, so the act of measuring the photon's polarization to be one or the other at the end has to add energy to it.

Quantum Magician
1 / 5 (3) Sep 25, 2015
the stuff inside a black hole is causally disconnected from anything outside (at least one way).

Not at least, but at most. But is that really so?

Based on quite a alot of observational evidence I would wager to think that BH`s have indeed a quite profound influence on all of their surroundings. Or do they not affect the orbits of companion stars in binary systems? Do they not warp spacetime around them?

How much "effect" does one need to declare a causal relation?
Or is all of the above not a cumulative effect of everything that has ever "fallen inside"?

Thought experiment:
Lets just hypothetically consider that it would be possible for some inteligent form of life to arise inside of a BH. It would probably have a pretty hard time getting any form of energy (EM,etc.) outside - if at all possible.

But what if it had a signifficant amount of mass/energy at its disposal, and could displace it inside of the BH "at will" ?

Still not enough for a causal relation?
Quantum Magician
1 / 5 (1) Sep 25, 2015
So, when we put the cat in the box that makes it perfectly unobserveable and therefore not real, we actually destroy the cat by attempting to put it outside of our reality because the energy and information of the cat must remain in our reality.

So there isn't any cat in the box while it's closed. When the box is opened, the cat is reconstituted.

But that's the whole root of the problem - that the process you describe is entirely un-physical, and so can not be used to explain/describe physical reality.

"Closing the lid" does not remove the energy content of the cat from our reality, nor does it remove the causal relation it has on its surroundings. Yes it can change form/shape, but it can never just disappear. So unless you allow for violation of conservation of energy, a "disconnect" actually never happens.

That is why "superposition" is more of an abstract concept that can be used in the process of guessing the outcome, than a physical concept to model reality.
wolfe604
not rated yet Sep 25, 2015
"Such as, suppose we shoot a photon through a device which randomly puts it through one of two paths with filters which change its polarization. It should be that the energy required for the photon to travel through both is less than the energy required to travel through one, so the act of measuring the photon's polarization to be one or the other at the end has to add energy to it."

Hasn't this already been tested with the Elitzur–Vaidman bomb-test?
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2015
For example, the underlying reality is not a 'particle' nor a 'wave', ... but rather these are conceptual forms in which they are necessarily observed given the nature of mind operating at the macroscopic scale,... i.e. dependent upon the experimental arrangement.


That's the basic gist of it.

All we have to do from there is to not forget that these minds also consist of the same underlying reality, so we don't go off into mysticism by having to explain the mind as a separate entity.


The brain is subject to the same underlying physical laws,.... however the mind is emergent and is not passive like a stone, but rather actively orchestrates it's own synthesis of experience through it's own conceptual framework. A conceptual framework that is even exposed as artificial given the non-intuitive nature of QM. There is no need to propose the mind as a separate entity.
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2015

In other words, when say the polarization of the pair is in superposition, the energy of the pair is less than when the polarization gets measured and the superposition collapses.


There are problems with considering the superposition wave function as representing a physical wave. Schrödinger's initial hopes of retaining such an intuitive classical interpretation was not to be, if one is to avoid proposing unobservable metaphysical entities,.. as in many-worlds or pilot-wave.

A further note on the previous post; 'quantum interaction' is distinct from 'observation by mind',... an epistemological interpretation like the Copenhagen interpretation is compatible with decoherence, mainly because decoherence does not cause ' wavefunction collapse',... nor does it occur on account of the deterministic Schrödinger equation.

docile
Sep 26, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
docile
Sep 26, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Hyperfuzzy
3 / 5 (2) Sep 26, 2015
Similiarily, when we put some particle into superposition, we simply remove some of its properties and move them outside of the particle, and create the property again with that information once we again observe it.


If the property is removed, then what is left behind?

It could be that the underlying reality has no 'properties' per se,... but is conceptually formless (as it exists independent of observation),... so that 'properties' become a manifestation of the process of observation.

For example, the underlying reality is not a 'particle' nor a 'wave', ... but rather these are conceptual forms in which they are necessarily observed given the nature of mind operating at the macroscopic scale,... i.e. dependent upon the experimental arrangement.


No property is ever removed, all that exists is superimposed

basic physics and math
Pavel F
5 / 5 (1) Sep 28, 2015
"No property is ever removed, all that exists is superimposed" Iike this, #Hyperfuzzy
NeutronicallyRepulsive
not rated yet Sep 28, 2015
I wouldn't care so much for trying to make a living organism into a superposition. To me it seems that living organism is explicitly based on "measurement" (or superposition disturbance). You can freeze a living organism into a dormant state where it cannot "measure", but that's a mere trick. Living thing -> non-living thing (superposition) -> living thing (restored from hibernation). I would be more interested in how large object (of non-living material) can we get into a superposition. Can we get a rock sized piece of matter in a superposition? A car sized? What does it mean on macro scale? Can we build a "magic box" with a block of material in a superposition? Can it end-up in any (statistically plausible one of course) state when we finally open the box and collapse the wave function/remove superposition?
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Sep 28, 2015
"No property is ever removed, all that exists is superimposed" Iike this, #Hyperfuzzy

Well, yes. The property of the "+" and "-" are superimposed. The attributes of each point is only defined by the presence of "these" at its proper superposition point in space-time. Note distance and time have the same units, i.e. the ply under inspection at a given point, or simply that point. The superposition is only a vector addition of the collective Poynting unit vectors and the field magnitude. The motion for each particle at this point can be defined as a point along this superimposed field at the center of the particle in the direction of the Poynting vector. i.e. the particles acceleration, not mass, change of field and particle position that always comply. Maxwell, redefined.
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Sep 28, 2015
Any real superposition would require real particles, else only a hologram. So no, the transference of particles is not described by this article. Each particle occupies a single location at every point within space-time. Neither created or destroyed.
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Sep 28, 2015
Anyway, the outcome depends upon the cat, how intelligent is the cat, or the observer? Exactly why is this a thang? I could train the cat, maybe. What controls? Or, are we looking for a single result from an uncontrolled experiment based upon a theory that is non-specific and the intelligence of Schrodinger's cat!? Same thang! Nonsense! I would have at least surprised my audience by training my cat, maybe cruelly, but with a set of defined results. The search for the unknown by guessing at outcomes is logical in a fuzzy world and will offer results; but, precision requires actuality. I suppose one could run a simulation based upon the stupidity of the cat based upon a set of attributes as yet defined but is somewhat unnecessary without a set of defined monitors. juz say'n
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Sep 28, 2015
For a philosophy of human interaction, you may also start with the + and the - defined at every point with a set of attributes. I prefer the results, based upon all points. Say the point of POTUS, or ... b Then the primary attributes we respond are repulsion or corporation. No matter the chosen outcome, or attribute, corporation typically is the defining attribute with repulsion creating disharmony. Juz say'n. or it can go either way, depends upon the "repulsive" thang" and the act of cooperation, same overlay, more detail. You may define the individuals actions upon the whole and the distribution of matter.
Hyperfuzzy
not rated yet Sep 28, 2015
But you will find, that in order to maintain control, you will require logic and human rights, i.e. an accurate model or mathematical isomorphism for identification and control. The "witch" hunt will not get you there. There is no there, there! Must be well rooted in human rights, else possibly a monster creator for total control over wealth while disrespecting the "mass"! Everything should be free, eliminates unnecessary requirements upon control and allows everyone access to heaven. A few must move away from barbarism and greed; but, at this moment in space-time; I see a bright future for mankind. I know what this isomorphic space-time concept is capable, fuzzy models, i.e. any set of attributes with similar isomorphism, wavelength, just a function of time or any related axii with multiple polarization, source, sink and the field. All superimposed at each instant in space-time. Just a simulation using your own defined field or physics, chemistry, molecular stability, energy,
Noumenon
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 28, 2015
Gibberish.
Macrocompassion
not rated yet Sep 29, 2015
At last! I can queue in the cash outlet of my supermarket whilst still shopping!

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