600 Years Old Starlight Helps Test Loophole In Quantum Theory

Posted: Feb 9 2017, 5:45am CST | by , in Latest Science News

600 Years Old Starlight Helps Test Loophole in Quantum Theory
Physicists from MIT, the University of Vienna, and elsewhere have presented a strong demonstration of quantum entanglement even when vulnerability to the freedom-of-choice loophole is significantly restricted. Image Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT
  • 600 Year Old Starlight Helps Physicists Address Loophole in Tests of Bell’s Inequality

Scientists have used 600 year old starlight which has aided them in testing the anomaly in Bell’s inequality.

Quantum entanglement is the stuff of which dreams are made of. At the level of atoms and subatomic particles, the world behaves very differently than it does at the macrolevel.

No less of a genius than Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance”. Yet such is the paradox that it is all very real and not just wishy washy stuff.

Even if there are two dust particles at opposite areas of the universe, they will be entangled with one another. This is so despite the particles being billions of light years apart from one another.

Any act perpetrated on one dust particle will end up affecting the other particle which is at such a great distance from it. There is thus a correlation between the two particles.

The physicist John Bell termed this Bell’s inequality about half a century ago. Today’s physicists have uncovered anomalies and loopholes in Bell’s inequality. This has been called the freedom-of-choice loophole.

Physicists from MIT, the University of Vienna, and elsewhere have tried to test this loophole using controlled experiments. Photons have been used in the experiments.

The photons are sent to opposite sites and then the level of entanglement between them is tested. Real life examples from the universe that surrounds us were also taken into consideration.

These included star alignment. Bright stars gave out photons that reached the earth after travelling long distances in space. The experts measured 100,000 pairs of photons that were entangled with each other.

They found the polarization correlation to be in surplus of Bell’s inequality. In fact, the results were not tallying with Einstein’s prognostication.

A difference of a millionth of a second as opposed to 600 years was noted down by the researchers. This obviously came as somewhat of a surprise. It shows us that the universe is stranger than our wildest thoughts.

The results of this study got published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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