Scientists have unveiled the first ever image of quantum entanglement and I’ll be honest, I’m already lost.
Before I start spouting scientific lingo, I just want to point out that science was never my strong point. So I’ll do my best to explain quantum entanglement and how the image came to exist but you’ll have to forgive me if it’s a slow process.
The historic photograph was shared by scientists from the University of Glasgow in a paper published in the journal of Scientific Advances yesterday (July 12).
It depicts a Bell entanglement, with two photons interacting and sharing physical states for a brief instant, an event which occurs no matter how great the distance between the two particles.
In order to capture the image, scientists created a system consisting of a ‘β-Barium Borate (BBO) crystal pumped by a quasi-continuous laser’. If you’re still following this, I salute you.
The system generated entangled photons from a quantum source of light and separated them into two distinct optical systems.
These objects were displayed on liquid-crystal materials, which can change the phase of the photons as they move through them. A camera which is capable of detecting photons was then set up to snap a photo when it identified one photon entangled with another.
Here’s the result:
I’ll admit, to me it does just look like a couple of blurry white dots but I’ve previously emphasised I just don’t have the capacity to appreciate the importance of this photo. You could tell me it was just a black and white version of the first ever picture of a black hole and I’d probably believe you.
The researchers depict quantum entanglement as one of the primary pillars of quantum mechanics; it’s a process which Albert Einstein himself called ‘spooky action at a distance’ because of the instantaneousness of the apparent remote interaction between the two particles.
According to Sky News, Paul-Antoine Moreau, of the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said:
The image we’ve managed to capture is an elegant demonstration of a fundamental property of nature, seen for the very first time in the form of an image.
It’s an exciting result which could be used to advance the emerging field of quantum computing and lead to new types of imaging.
So there you have it; quantum entanglement. I hope I didn’t butcher this historic moment too much for you.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.