Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New experiment provides route to macroscopic high-mass superpositions

24.10.2014

University of Southampton scientists have designed a new experiment to test the foundations of quantum mechanics at the large scale.

Standard quantum theory places no limit on particle size and current experiments use larger and larger particles, which exhibit wave-like behaviour. However, at these masses experiments begin to probe extensions to standard quantum mechanics, which describe the apparent quantum-to-classical transition.

Now, Southampton researchers, with colleagues from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, have designed a new type of experiment which will advance the current state-of-the-art experiments by a factor of 100, from 10,000 atomic mass units (amu), roughly equal to the mass of a single proton, to one million amu.

The research is published in Nature Communications.

They propose an interferometer with a levitated, optically cooled, and then free-falling silicon nanoparticle in the mass range of one million amu, delocalised over more than 150 nm. The scheme employs the near-field Talbot effect with a single standing-wave laser pulse as a phase grating.

Individual particles are dropped and diffracted by a standing UV laser wave, such that interference of neighbouring diffraction orders produces a resonant near-field fringe pattern. In order to record the interferogram, the nanospheres are deposited on a glass slide and their arrival positions are recorded via optical microscopy. The researchers argue that the choice of silicon, due to its specific material characteristics, will produce reliable high mass interference, unaffected by environmental decoherence, in a setup that can be produced with current technology.

Dr James Bateman, from Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton and co-author of the study, says: "This work is a natural extension of atomic physics, which has revolutionised many technologies. Our analysis, which accounts for all relevant sources of decoherence, indicates that this is a viable route towards macroscopic high-mass superpositions.

"This current work is not technology-driven, but it does ask difficult questions of relevance to future quantum devices. Placing larger and larger mechanical systems into quantum states has implications for what can be done with the technology. We hope that our work will lead to a better understanding of the fundamental physics and hence to more advanced quantum devices."

As time-of-flight, and therefore mass, is limited by the free-fall distance under earth's gravity, a space-based mission is planned by the Macroscopic quantum resonators (MAQRO) consortium with which the researchers are involved; this could bring a further factor of 100 in mass.

Glenn Harris | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht From the cosmos to fusion plasmas, PPPL presents findings at global APS gathering
13.11.2018 | DOE/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

nachricht A two-atom quantum duet
12.11.2018 | Institute for Basic Science

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>