Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Historic Delft Experiments tests Einstein's 'God does not play dice' using quantum 'dice' made in Barcelona

22.10.2015

Random number generators developed at ICFO - The Institute of Photonic Sciences, by the groups of ICREA Professors Morgan W. Mitchell and Valerio Pruneri, played a critical role in the historic experiment was published online today in Nature by the group of Ronald Hanson at TU Delft. The experiment gives the strongest refutation to date of Albert Einstein's principle of "local realism," which says that the universe obeys laws, not chance, and that there is no communication faster than light.

As described in Hanson's group web the Delft experiment first "entangled" two electrons trapped inside two different diamond crystals, and then measured the electrons' orientations. In quantum theory entanglement is powerful and mysterious: mathematically the two electrons are described by a single "wave-function" that only specifies whether they agree or disagree, not which direction either spin points.


This is an artistic impression of the entanglement between electrons.

Credit: ICFO

In a mathematical sense, they lose their identities. "Local realism" attempts to explain the same phenomena with less mystery, saying that the particles must be pointing somewhere, we just don't know their directions until we measure them.

When measured, the Delft electrons did indeed appear individually random while agreeing very well. So well, in fact, that they cannot have had pre-existing orientations, as realism claims. This behaviour is only possible if the electrons communicate with each other, something that is very surprising for electrons trapped in different crystals. But here's the amazing part: in the Delft experiment, the diamonds were in different buildings, 1.3 km away from each other.

Moreover, the measurements were made so quickly that there wasn't time for the electrons to communicate, not even with signals traveling at the speed of light. This puts "local realism" in a very tight spot: if the electron orientations are real, the electrons must have communicated. But if they communicated, they must have done so faster than the speed of light. There's no way out, and local realism is disproven. Either God does play "dice" with the universe, or electron spins can talk to each other faster than the speed of light.

This amazing experiment called for extremely fast, unpredictable decisions about how to measure the electron orientations. If the measurements had been predictable, the electrons could have agreed in advance which way to point, simulating communications where there wasn't really any, a gap in the experimental proof known as a "loophole." To close this loophole, the Delft team turned to ICFO, who hold the record for the fastest quantum random number generators.

ICFO designed a pair of "quantum dice" for the experiment: a special version of their patented random number generation technology, including very fast "randomness extraction" electronics. This produced one extremely pure random bit for each measurement made in the Delft experiment. The bits were produced in about 100 ns, the time it takes light to travel just 30 meters, not nearly enough time for the electrons to communicate.

"Delft asked us to go beyond the state of the art in random number generation. Never before has an experiment required such good random numbers in such a short time." Says Carlos Abellán, a PhD student at ICFO and a co-author of the Delft study.

For the ICFO team, the participation in the Delft experiment was more than a chance to contribute to fundamental physics. Prof. Morgan Mitchell comments: "Working on this experiment pushed us to develop technologies that we can now apply to improve communications security and high-performance computing, other areas that require high-speed and high-quality random numbers."

With the help of ICFO's quantum random number generators, the Delft experiment gives a nearly perfect disproof of Einstein's world-view, in which "nothing travels faster than light" and "God does not play dice." At least one of these statements must be wrong. The laws that govern the Universe may indeed be a throw of the dice.

###

Reference

"Loophole-free Bell inequality violation using electron spins separated by 1.3 kilometres", http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nature15759

About ICFO

ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences is a center of research excellence devoted to the science and technologies of light with a triple mission: to conduct frontier research, train the next generation of scientists, and provide knowledge and technology transfer.

Research at ICFO targets the forefront of science and technology based on light with programs directed at applications in Health, Renewable Energies, Information Technologies, Security and Industrial processes, among others. The institute hosts 300 professionals based in a dedicated building situated in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona.

ICFO participates in a large number of projects and international networks of excellence and is host to the NEST program financed by Fundación Privada Cellex Barcelona. ICFO is a member of the Severo Ochoa Excelence program and a membre of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology.

Media Contact

Alina Hirschmann
alina.hirschmann@icfo.es
34-935-542-246

http://www.icfo.es 

Alina Hirschmann | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Pulses of electrons manipulate nanomagnets and store information
21.07.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion
21.07.2017 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>