Sunday 21 July 2019
Select a region

Phenomenon which baffled Einstein is captured in photo for first time

Phenomenon which baffled Einstein is captured in photo for first time

Friday 12 July 2019

Phenomenon which baffled Einstein is captured in photo for first time


Scientists have captured a photograph for the first time of a phenomenon which Albert Einstein once described as “spooky action at a distance”.

The image is of a strong form of quantum entanglement, where two particles interact with each other and share their physical states for an instant – no matter how great the distance which separates them.

This connection is known as Bell entanglement and underpins the field of quantum mechanics.

Bell entanglement
An image of the interaction captured by scientists (University of Glasgow)

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.”

Einstein thought quantum mechanics was “spooky” because of the instantaneousness of the apparent remote interaction between two entangled particles.

This seemed incompatible with elements of his special theory of relativity.

Scientist Sir John Bell later formalised this concept by describing a strong form of entanglement exhibiting this feature.

Sir John Bell
Sir John Bell formalised the idea of non-local interaction (Aaron Chown/PA)

Bell entanglement is today being harnessed in practical applications like quantum computing and cryptography, however it has never before been captured in a single image.

The team of physicists from the University of Glasgow described how they recorded the phenomenon in a photo for the first time.

They devised a system which fires a stream of entangled photons from a quantum source of light at “non-conventional” objects – displayed on liquid-crystal materials which change the phase of the photons as they pass through.

Sign up to newsletter

 

Comments

Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

To place a comment please login

You have landed on the Bailiwick Express website, however it appears you are based in . Would you like to stay on the site, or visit the site?