Research

Molecules can be in two places at once

Quantum mechanics, which is the mostThe mysterious and little-studied branch of physics has repeatedly surprised scientists with new and new properties, which are little consistent with the traditional macroscopic world. Where exactly is the border between it and the quantum worlds still remains an unsolved mystery. At the same time, in their recent experiment, physicists finally managed to slightly open the veil of secrecy and show that even massive molecules can exist in two places at the same time.

Not only atoms, but also molecules can be in two places at the same time

Is teleportation real?

The debate about whether it will be possible once instantlymove a person to a more or less significant distance, have not subsided so far. A new discovery, showing that not only atoms, but also relatively large molecules are able to be in two places at the same time, brings mankind one step closer to its old dream - conquering large distances in a split second. A unique discovery was made through the use of a somewhat modernized two-gap experiment, which is often used in physics to study the properties of light photons. Thanks to him, scientists at one time were able to come to the concept of the duality of light, behaving like a particle and a wave at the same time.

See also: Quantum teleportation to record 30 kilometers

A two-slit experiment is quite simpleon practice. First of all, you need to make sure that the light source is directed to the surface, which has two cuts cut in it. Behind a given surface, it is necessary to place another surface onto which light will be projected. If the light consisted only of ordinary particles, the pattern on the back surface would appear only in the shape and size of the slits. However, the two-gap experiment is unique in that the waves of light suddenly begin to bounce off each other, like ripples in the water, creating a kind of tiger pattern on the surface.

Conducting a two-gap experiment

But the strangest thing about the experiment isthe fact that even when the experiment is conducted with individual particles of light, the same striped pattern appears. Somehow, these photons do not seem to follow only one path, as one might expect, but intersect and mix with each other.

In physics, this phenomenon is called quantumthe superposition that is best illustrated by the Schrödinger cat. In this thought experiment, the cat hidden in the box is neither alive nor dead, but exists in two states at the same time. When the observer opens the box, the superposition collapses into one state or another. Even more unusual for the experiment is the fact that if the detectors were installed in the slots as an instrument for measuring the path traveled by light, then the striped patterns would immediately disappear. The blurriness of the result becomes clear only when it is measured.

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At the same time, the phenomenon of superposition seems to beapplicable only in the quantum field, because as objects become larger, the duality of light almost completely disappears in the macroscopic world. If so, is there a limit to the size of the very object that, without any problems, can be in two places at the same time? In order to answer this question, scientists from the universities of Vienna and Basel conducted a double gap experiment with the largest molecules that have been tested in the history of physics.

The previous record included molecules containingmore than 800 atoms, but the team of researchers managed to expand it to 2000 atoms. Molecules existed in a state of quantum superposition and showed a similar result of quantum bifurcation. A similar result pushes the microscopic border closer to our macro-world, while almost completely erasing any line between them.