Scientists captured the world’s first real image of quantum entanglement – a phenomenon so bizarre, physicist Albert Einstein famously defined it as ‘spooky action at a distance.’
The Physicists at the University of Glasgow in Scotland captured the image, and it’s so amazing that we can’t stop watching. It may not look like much, but just stop and think about it for a second.
This fluffy grey picture is the first time we have seen the interaction of particles that underpins the unusual science of quantum mechanics and forms the foundation of quantum computing.
Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles become inextricably linked, and anything that happens to one affects the other immediately, no matter how far apart they are. Hence the description of ‘spooky action at a distance.’
This specific photograph demonstrates the entanglement of two photons-two particles of light. They interact and share physical states for a short time.
The first author of the document in which the picture was presented, Paul-Antoine Moreau, told the BBC that the picture was “an elegant demonstration of a fundamental property of nature.”
Moreau and a team of physicists developed a system to capture the incredible photograph, that shot streams of entangled photons at what they described as ‘non-conventional objects’.
The test involved capturing four pictures of photons under four different stage transitions. You can see the complete picture below:
What you see here is a composite of multiple pictures of the photons as they go through a sequence of four-phase transitions.
Physicists split up the entangled photons and ran one beam through a liquid crystal material called β-barium borate, causing four-phase transitions.
At the same time, they captured images of the entangled pair going through the same phase transitions, even though it had not passed through the liquid crystal.
The configuration can be viewed below. The entangled photon beam emerges from the bottom left, half of the entangled pair splits to the left, passing through the four-phase filters. The others going directly ahead did not go through the filters but underwent the same phase changes.
The camera was able to capture these pictures simultaneously, demonstrating that despite being divided, they both moved the same way. They were, in other words, entangled.
While Einstein made quantum entanglement famous, late physicist John Stewart Bell helped identify quantum entanglement and established a test known as ‘Bell inequality’. You can verify real quantum entanglement if you can break Bell’s inequality.
“Because of observed images, we report an experiment showing the breach of a Bell inequality,” the team writes in Science Advances.
“This outcome opens the way for fresh quantum imaging systems and indicates promise based on spatial factors for quantum information systems.”
Science Advances published the research.