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Humans used to detect quantum effects

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The quantum world is entirely different from what we see around us; it has its own laws, its own algebra, etc. It’s a really bizarre place, but that can yield wonderous developments as well. Since the quantum laws are so different, it’s hard to actually observe them, so instead, thought experiments are used. But for the first time, that has changed – researchers have used humans to actually observe the results of a quantum phenomena.

Nicolas Gisin, a physicist at the University of Geneva in Switzerland created a test to see is human eyes can detect signs of entanglement. Quantum entanglement is a really weird and unexplainable fact, outside the quantum world: it practically links two or more objects in such a way that if you measure one’s properties, the other one’s properties are changed, no matter how far away they are from each other. Doesn’t make much sense does it ? But that’s how it goes in the quantum world. Quantum effects such as this one are typically limited to the microscopic world and are observed only through precise microscopes, thus indirectly.

He was inspired by an experiment carried out in Rome; professor Fabio Sciarrino and his team at La Sapienza University in Rome entangled a pair of photons and then ‘amplified’ one of them to create a shower of thousands of photons with the same quantum state.

“I immediately realized that the human eye could see that many photons,” says Gisin.

So he used a similar line-up, they entangled two photons; one of them was sent through a standard photon detector, while the other one was amplified using a machine that generated photons with the same polarization, and thus, at least in theory, generating a quantum micro-macro entanglement.

But here Gisin did something differently – he replaced the photon light field detector with a human. The beam of light produced by the amplifier could appear in one of two positions, and the location of the beam reflected the polarization state of the photons in the field. Gisin and his team sat in the dark for hours, marking the position of the light spot over repeated runs of the experiment, for the first time seeing the effects of quantum entanglement with the naked eye…

Via Physicists use humans to detect quantum effects


Written by Nokgiir

May 3, 2011 at 1:56 am

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