Magazine article Science News

Physicists Get Good Vibrations on Entanglement: 'Spooky Action at a Distance' Achieved with Oscillating Ions

Magazine article Science News

Physicists Get Good Vibrations on Entanglement: 'Spooky Action at a Distance' Achieved with Oscillating Ions

Article excerpt

Researchers have linked the vibrations of two separated atom pairs, catching sight of a strange quantum effect called entanglement in a mechanical system that approaches the scale of everyday life. This new link between two pairs of oscillating ions, reported in the June 4 Nature, "pushes the bounds on where entanglement can be seen," says study coauthor John Jost of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo.

Quantum entanglement, a mysterious connection between far-flung particles that Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," has been confined to the microworld of tiny particles including photons, atoms and "other things that are not easy to relate to," Jost says.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The springlike, oscillating connection between the two tiny atoms shares mechanical properties with macroscopic systems such as violin strings and clock pendulums. By entangling the motion of one pair of atoms with the motion of another pair, Jost and colleagues may permit "quantumness" to creep into the real world.

"We all want to move quantum mechanics to the macroscopic world we live in," says Christopher Monroe, a quantum physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park. "But it's really hard, and that's why it hasn't been done."

For their mechanical system, Jost and colleagues co-opted two pairs of positively charged ions--each pair had one beryllium and one magnesium ion. Electrodes held the ions in place while researchers entangled the two beryllium ions' internal states, known as spin states. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.