Feb 19, 2016

Researchers demonstrate ‘quantum surrealism’

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Proving Quantum

New research demonstrates that particles at the quantum level can in fact be seen as behaving something like billiard balls rolling along a table, and not merely as the probabilistic smears that the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics suggests. But there’s a catch — the tracks the particles follow do not always behave as one would expect from “realistic” trajectories, but often in a fashion that has been termed “surrealistic.”

In a new version of an old experiment, CIFAR Senior Fellow Aephraim Steinberg (University of Toronto) and colleagues tracked the of photons as the particles traced a path through one of two slits and onto a screen. But the researchers went further, and observed the “nonlocal” influence of another photon that the first photon had been entangled with.

The results counter a long-standing criticism of an interpretation of quantum mechanics called the De Broglie-Bohm theory. Detractors of this interpretation had faulted it for failing to explain the behaviour of realistically. For Steinberg, the results are important because they give us a way of visualizing quantum mechanics that’s just as valid as the standard interpretation, and perhaps more intuitive.

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