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Science

Physicists Smash Record For Wave-Particle Duality 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the call-me-when-it-works-on-a-baseball dept.
KentuckyFC writes "One of the central concepts in quantum theory is wave-particle duality — that every object can be thought of as a particle and a wave. Indeed every object has a quantum wavelength associated with it and so can form a quantum superposition with itself. That's easy to demonstrate with fundamental particles such as photons and electrons by passing a beam of them through a double slit and watching the interference pattern that forms on the other side. In this way, physicists have observed the interference patterns associated with atoms and even molecules such as buckyballs. Now, a group at the University of Vienna has observed the interference pattern formed by the quantum superposition of molecules containing over 800 atoms, or around 5,000 protons, 5,000 neutrons and 5,000 electrons. That's the most macroscopic occurrence of wave-particle duality ever observed, they say."
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Physicists Smash Record For Wave-Particle Duality

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  • Whatever (Score:4, Funny)

    by For a Free Internet (1594621) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:33PM (#45371305)

    Wake me up when they can find the wavelength of a Turtle, because quantum theory holds that the universe is made of picoturtles. Why should anyone believe quantum "science"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Picoturtles? What about the femtoturtles? It's turtles all the way down!

    • by zAPPzAPP (1207370)

      Why should anyone believe quantum "science"?

      For starters, no picoturtles.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe because the science works. So you should start learning to eat turtle, beginning with your own words..

  • Not enough (Score:5, Funny)

    by HeckRuler (1369601) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:44PM (#45371409)

    I won't be happy until they get a whole cat [wikipedia.org] to exist in superposition.
    Then a lab assistant [wikipedia.org].
    THEN THE WORLD!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Looks like we're going to need another Timmy!

    • by mark-t (151149)
      If they can really do that, they will have invented a teleporter.
      • good grief, what use is a teleporter just for cats?!!
        • Re:useless (Score:4, Funny)

          by lgw (121541) on Friday November 08, 2013 @05:23PM (#45372497) Journal

          Finally they can stop scratching at doors until you let them through. Best invention ever!

        • by mmell (832646)
          Have you ever tried herding them (or programmers)?
        • by dissy (172727)

          good grief, what use is a teleporter just for cats?!!

          Imagine: It's 3am on a Wednesday night. You are up on the Internet arguing with a troll.
          Suddenly you press a large jolly and candy like button on your cat teleporter, and without warning a thousand terrified cats materialize directly above the troll and rain down upon him like the clawing and hissing metric ton of fur it is.

          <Nathan Explosion> Release The Kitties!

    • Wait. I'm the evil one. Never mind.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What about politicians? Thats and entire person who can take dual positions and only pick a single position based on the audience.

    • THEN THE WORLD!

      Greg Egan did it.

  • I mean, their current setup is displaying an interference pattern.

    But how about doing it in reverse. Start from existing interference pattern, and go through all possible molecules until you find the one which matches the same interference pattern?

    • I'm pretty sure the interference pattern is determined by the mass and velocity of the particle. Because of this the pattern would not be unique to any one particle.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Vortices in superfluids 3He or 4He are an expression of the wave-function.

    Experiments have been done up to 70 Mol, that is a lot more that 800 atoms.

    • by hubie (108345) on Friday November 08, 2013 @04:13PM (#45371695)
      There are some really interesting experiments going on these days with QM behavior of macroscopic objects (micrometer-scale). I've seen descriptions of MEMS cantilevers built and they measure its vibrational modes, and these guys [phdcomics.com] describe how they did it using reflected laser light. The trick is to cool the device to get rid of the phonons and detect when it falls into the ground state.
  • by Ultra64 (318705)

    What does this mean?

    • It means that people can be amazed by just about anything.

    • by hAckz0r (989977)
      It means they accomplished a completely new demonstration of what that they can not even begin to explain, except mathematically of course.

      .
      The mathematics is merely a statistical description of the observations, not details on the mechanism for the underlying process. Please wake me when they describe the actual underlying process.

      • by sjames (1099)

        It's the political holy grail! They will be able to vote yes and no at the same time.

        • It's the political holy grail! They will be able to vote yes and no at the same time.

          Politicians are already in a superposition of their principles - the measurement of what those principles are depends entirely on the who the observer is doing the measuring.

      • by daknapp (156051)

        The mathematics is merely a statistical description of the observations, not details on the mechanism for the underlying process. Please wake me when they describe the actual underlying process.

        Um, no. Ever hear of Bell's inequality?

        • Yes, it describes a test of the nature of entanglement. It is not a physical description or even a theory of how entanglement happens in the physical world. It provides no physical explinations, but rathet excluding some,and adding to the current mystery.
      • by Musc (10581)

        This is an argument I've had in the past.
        If taken a little further, it leads to the question: will science ever end?

        At one point, we just knew that matter was made out of small things we called atoms.
        We asked what are atoms made of, and we learned they are made of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
        We ask what are protons and neutrons made of, and we found quarks.
        What are quarks made of? I don't know, because I'm not a physicist. Maybe someone else can answer that for me.

        But what are electrons made of? Sci

        • What are quarks made of? I don't know, because I'm not a physicist. Maybe someone else can answer that for me.

          Currently, quarks are assumed to be elementary particles, just like electrons.

          But what are electrons made of? Science has shown that they are not made of anything, they are elementary particles.

          Actually no. Experiments have not shown any evidence for them not to be elementary. However, it is impossible to conclusively show that they are elementary. After all, they might have a substructure which onl

  • Pics or it did or didn't happen.

  • Reminds of this, of course: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1605#comic [smbc-comics.com]
  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Friday November 08, 2013 @05:58PM (#45372857) Homepage Journal

    love this one:
    "In 1906, J.J. Thompson had received the Nobel Prize for proving that electrons are particles;
    in 1937 he saw his son awarded the Nobel Prize for proving that electrons are waves.
    Both father and son were correct, and both awards were fully merited."
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._J._Thomson [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Paget_Thomson [wikipedia.org]

  • Physicists have evidence of the Wave-Particle Duality of Macroscopic Chickens in Minecraft. [youtube.com]

  • But quantum decoherence is, i.e. how the wave nature is actually suppressed in our macroscopic world.

    QM offers up the Ehrenfest theorem to explain how we get there, but this theorem is not completely consistent [wavewatching.net]. So gaining an experimental leg up on this process, that the Copenhagen Interpretation just swept under the rug as 'Quantum State Collapse', is what makes experiments with ever larger quantum systems so interesting.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers

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