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Scientists Put A Tardigrade In A Strange Quantum State And It Survived

by : Hannah Smith on :
Scientists Put A Tardigrade In A Strange Quantum State And It SurvivedShutterstock/Marvel Studios

Scientists have successfully managed to perform yet another boundary-breaking experiment on a tardigrade, this one more complex than any before it.

Tardigrades – sometimes referred to as water pigs for their cute, chubby piglet-like shape – are invisible to the naked eye, ranging from between 0.5mm to 1.2mm in length.

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But despite their size they’re deceptively tough, having been described by scientists as ‘indestructible’ for their ability to survive extreme conditions, including high levels of pressure and intense temperatures that would either kill or denature most other living organisms.

Tardigrade under the microscopePA Images

As a result, they’ve been subjected to all sorts of innovative scientific experiments, from being fired out of a gun at 200mph to see if they can survive impact shocks, to being placed in a vacuum to test their response to the extremities of space.

Now, they’ve come through another ordeal, by becoming the first multi-celled organism to survive quantum entanglement.

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For those who haven’t watched Ant-Man, quantum entanglement is a bizarre phenomenon in which quantum particles become linked to each other, and behave in such a way that they can’t be described independently of each other, even when separated by distance.

In this groundbreaking study, Raimer Dumke of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore successfully placed a tardigrade in a state of quantum entanglement with a superconducting qubit – and the tardigrade lived to tell the tale.

Tardigrade under the microscopePA Images
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It’s pretty complex stuff, and involved reducing the temperature of the tardigrade to just 0.01°C above absolute zero – the lowest a tradigrade has ever survived.

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New Scientist reports that the successful experiment was the third time Dumke has attempted to perform the process on a tardigrade, with his team hoping to progress to entangling other forms of life in the future.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Science, Now

Credits

New Scientist
  1. New Scientist

    Tardigrade is first multicellular organism to be quantum entangled