Entanglement, a quantum phenomenon is brought to near macroscopic scales and here's why you should care

03 May, 2018

It is true, as they say, that science is the art of pushing the limits of what we know as reality and how we perceive life around us. Well, ok nobody has ever said that except me but it is true. And every scientific discovery helps in making an even bigger discovery the next day.

Nearly every scientific leap and every breakthrough in physics has led to what a new Nature journal study shows to be the entanglement experiment in a macro-scale.

In a few lines, the entanglement is a very specific phenomenon in quantum-physics that kind of defies physics in the macro-world. It is so weird for the average Joe, that Albert Einstein – while trying to explain it in its simplest form – named it ‘spooky action at a distance’. Basically, according to this phenomenon, one particle can influence the behaviour of more than two particles at the same time form a distance as big as the universe. The reason that this is so mind-bending is because there are seemingly no observable forces between the two particles.

So far, scientists had only managed to exhibit quantum entanglement on a microscopic scale using particles of light. Recently though, an international team comprised of scientists from the University of New South Wales, Australia, the University of Chicago and the universities of Jyväskylä and Aalto, in Finland, have managed to demonstrate the ‘spooky action’ on a massive scale, using ‘two massive micromechanical oscillators, each composed of about 1012 atoms, coupled to a microwave-frequency electromagnetic cavity that is used to create and stabilize the entanglement of their centre-of-mass motion’, as the study’s abstract reads.

In other words, they used two small drumheads that were prepared on silicon chips and were constantly vibrating at a high ultrasound frequency while moving at the same time. For an observer looking only at one of the two drumheads, the motion would seem kind of random. But in reality, the two drumheads were moving in correlation; when the first one was going up, the other was going down etc.

As mentioned above, the experiment had to exclude all environmental disturbances, so it was conducted at near zero temperatures – which translates to minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aashish Clerk, a professor at the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, said during an interview with Newsweek:

“Entanglement is the key resource behind many potential technologies that harness the most counter-intuitive aspects of quantum mechanics; this includes quantum computers, and new kinds of extremely precise sensors”.

To make Aashish’s words a tad simpler, we could soon see new quantum computers that will make the existing ‘super-computers’ look like a kid’s school calculator. And we could also soon have new sensors that can show weight, height or distance with near to zero margin of error. Imagine how much this could enhance our daily measurements or even a building construction.

Now let’s make something clear. None of that will happen in a few days from now. Heck, it’s not even expected to happen within 2018. But remember what was the first thing you read a few lines above? ‘Every scientific discovery helps in making an even bigger discovery the next day’. SO brace yourselves, because with that new achievement unlocked, we’ve got a lot more coming!