Scientists Demonstrate Quantum Surrealism

Posted: Feb 21 2016, 11:59pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 22 2016, 9:45pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Scientists Demonstrate Quantum Surrealism
Credit: Dylan Mahler

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New research explains that particles at quantum level behave something like billiard balls rolling along a table.

Quantum mechanics is a fundamental branch of science that describes the bewildering behavior of electrons, photons and other subatomic particles that make up the universe but many aspects of it are still not explained properly.

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Now, new research demonstrates that particles at the quantum level behave something like billiard balls rolling along a table in a “surreal” fashion and it is different from what has been suggested by standard interpretations.

The work is the new version of the famous "double-slit experiment", in which particles of light called photons are fired at two slits and detected on a screen. The latest research went further and observed the nonlocal influence of another photon that the one photon has been entangled with.

“I’m less interested in focusing on the philosophical question of what's 'really' out there. I think the fruitful question is more down to earth. Rather than thinking about different metaphysical interpretations, I would phrase it in terms of having different pictures. Different pictures can be useful. They can help shape better intuitions.” Aephraim Steinberg from CIFAR said.

The classical intuition expects that there is no real trajectory between the light source and the screen, meaning if we fire a photon at a screen and want to know where it will hit, we will unable to know exactly where it will hit or what path it will take to get there.

It was nearly impossible to see what is really happening at the quantum level but in 2011 Steinberg achieved it by tracking the trajectories of photons using a series of measurements and those measurements are so weak that they barely disturbed the position of the particles. The method showed trajectories looked similar to classical ones like balls flying through the air.

The recent experiments explain those surreal trajectories. Researcher suggests that surrealism is the result of non-locality since particles are able to influence one another at a distance and they are not just wave function collapses as previously assumed.

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