Entangled objects have been at the center of quantum physics research for quite some time now. Researchers from around the world are trying to understand and decipher this bizarre phenomenon. Many scientists have hypothesized that harnessing this peculiar property of quantum mechanics could lead to breakthroughs in multiple fields of science. Our current understanding of entangled objects has enabled us to make extremely sophisticated and quite unbreakable methods of communication encryption as well. Physicists expect that as we continue to unravel the properties of the quantum world, we will constantly see such innovations.
In a slightly unexpected move, researchers have successfully entangled a millimeter-sized drum with a large group of atoms. The phenomenon that we thought was only possible at an atomic level has just been replicated at the macroscopic one. The experiment was carried out by the researchers of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. The objects used in the experiment were 13 nanometer-thick, millimeters-long membranes made from silicon nitride. The membrane would buzz like a drum when it was struck with photons. These photons were generated inside a small, cold cell that housed spinning cesium atoms.
The researchers have ended the experiment with the conclusion that the cloud of atoms inside the cell and the drum represented an entangled system. The result is extremely shocking and is the latest example of researchers pushing the limits of what is possible. Senior researchers Eugene Polzik has said, “The bigger the objects, the further apart they are, the more disparate they are, the more interesting entanglement becomes from both fundamental and applied perspectives.” The new experiment has opened pathways to exciting and daring attempts at entangling much larger and distinct objects. This could prove to be a big breakthrough for quantum physics.
When Einstein was confronted with this phenomenon, he famously termed it spooky action at a distance. This perception perhaps still holds today. Researchers do not know what is going on. All they know is that any change in one of the entangled bodies prompts an immediate readjustment to the other. As mentioned before, our lack of understanding of why it happens has not stopped us from using it to develop some new technologies. When seen in its entirety, the whole idea of quantum mechanics is extremely unsettling, and perhaps this is why it warrants even stronger efforts to unravel its mysteries.
This new experiment is revolutionary as, for the first time, we can observe with our own eyes this mysterious phenomenon at work. Whatever comes next will probably benefit greatly from this single experiment.