In an incredible first, scientists have captured the world's first actual photo of quantum entanglement - a phenomenon so strange Einstein famously described it as 'spooky action at a distance'.
The image was captured by physicists at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and it's so breathtaking we can't stop staring.
It might not look like much, but just stop and think about it for a second: this fuzzy grey image is the first time we've seen the particle interaction that underpins the strange science of quantum mechanics and forms the basis of quantum computing.
Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles become inextricably linked, and whatever happens to one immediately affects the other, regardless of how far apart they are. Hence the 'spooky action at a distance' description.
This particular photo shows entanglement between two photons - two particles of light. They're interacting and for a brief moment sharing physical states.
Paul-Antoine Moreau, first author on the paper where the image was unveiled, told the BBC the image was "an elegant demonstration of a fundamental property of nature".
To capture the incredible photo, Moreau and a team of physicists created a system that blasted out streams of entangled photons at what they described as 'non-conventional objects'.
The experiment actually involved capturing four images of the photons under four different phase transitions. You can see the full image below:
What you're looking at here is actually a composite of multiple images of the photons as they go through a series of four phase transitions.
Basically, the physicists split the entangled photons up and ran one beam through a liquid crystal material known as β-Barium Borate, triggering four phase transitions.
At the same time they captured photos of the entangled pair going through the same phase transitions, even though it hadn't passed through the liquid crystal.
You can see the setup below, the entangled beam of photons comes from the bottom left, one half of the entangled pair splits to the left and passes through the four phase filters. The others that go straight ahead didn't go through the filters, but underwent the same phase changes.
The camera was able to capture images of these at the same time, showing that they'd both shifted the same way despite being split. In other words, they were entangled.
While Einstein made quantum entanglement famous, the late physicist John Stewart Bell helped define quantum entanglement and established a test known as 'Bell inequality'. Basically, if you can break Bell inequality, you can confirm true quantum entanglement.
"Here, we report an experiment demonstrating the violation of a Bell inequality within observed images," the team write in Science Advances.
"This result both opens the way to new quantum imaging schemes ... and suggests promise for quantum information schemes based on spatial variables."
The research was published in Science Advances.
This article was first published in Science Alert.
In our everyday life, time flows in one direction—forward. When you put a frozen pizza in the hot oven, the pizza heats up. When you hit a baseball, it flies over the wall (if you’re having a good day at bat). When you knock a coffee mug off a table...
The most famous case study in science, prior to Freud, was published in 1728 in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society by the English surgeon William Cheselden, who attended Newton in his final illness.
Billions of years ago, an iron nucleus forged in another galaxy was flung into space at close to the…
Quantum field theory has made some incredibly accurate predictions about the universe, but it has also made some of the worst.
Galaxies can move with each other across huge distances, and against the predictions of basic cosmological models.
The Born rule, which connects the math of quantum theory to the outcomes of experiments, has been derived from simpler physical principles.
Stuart Hameroff, co-founder of the Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, follows a brief overview…
How can there be intelligence without consciousness?
Reversing history from Galileo's time, it is now the scientists who refuse to look through the telescope.
This video is about Bell's Theorem, one of the most fascinating results in 20th century physics.
Ever wonder how we try to predict the unpredictable? Supercomputers use the power of chaos theory.
For well over a century, scientists have been wrestling with what quantum mechanics has been revealing to us about fundamental reality
There are many things that affect our mental health, from work-related stress to past traumas to whether or not we meditate each day.
What is happening right now? Is your “now” the same as my “now”?
Q: How do quantum phenomena take part in photosynthesis and why is it important?
In this inspiring talk, the mathematician Edward Frenkel speaks about the beauty and elegance of mathematics
In this exclusive interview with Dr. Alan Wallace we discuss consciousness, mathematics, practicing deep sleep states and meditation as preparation for dying consciously.
Please enter your email and we’ll send you instructions to reset your password