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Sep 24, 2019

2000 atoms in two places at once: A new record in quantum superposition

Posted by in categories: information science, particle physics, quantum physics

The quantum superposition principle has been tested on a scale as never before in a new study by scientists at the University of Vienna in collaboration with the University of Basel. Hot, complex molecules composed of nearly two thousand atoms were brought into a quantum superposition and made to interfere. By confirming this phenomenon—” the heart of quantum mechanics,” in Richard Feynman’s words—on a new mass scale, improved constraints on alternative theories to quantum mechanics have been placed. The work will be published in Nature Physics.

Quantum to classical?

The superposition principle is a hallmark of quantum theory which emerges from one of the most fundamental equations of quantum mechanics, the Schrödinger equation. It describes particles in the framework of wave functions, which, much like on the surface of a pond, can exhibit . But in contrast to water waves, which are a collective behavior of many interacting , quantum waves can also be associated with isolated single particles.

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