Scientists have finally solved one of quantum mechanic’s biggest problems – not only can we predict an action, we can now also reverse it
Quantum mechanics, despite not being the most casual conversation material, forms an important part of our daily lives – whether or not we know it. The research field examines how particles interact with each other at a microscopic level. Breakthroughs made thus far have contributed to some of sciences most imperative discoveries. As of late, some atom-breaking discoveries have come to light, all thanks to one cat.
Every lead followed in the scientific field could potentially result in a new kind of revolutionary technology. From increasing the speed of your computer to possibly shrinking solid matter; quantum mechanics sits at the core of many exceptional discoveries that have occurred. One lingering question that remains, however, revolves around a theory known predominantly as the ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’.
Austrian physicist, Erwin Schrodinger, once imagined a cat in the place of a quantum particle. The physicist’s thought process was as follows: By putting a cat in a box with a flask of poison and placing the lid on top, we would not be able to determine whether the cat was alive, or if it had drunk the poison and died. Such is the case with quantum particles. Until we look at them, we have no idea how they will act. These particles can act in all sorts of ways, which is what makes the job of quantum-based computers so difficult. This, however, may no longer be the case. It seems there is now a way to ‘save’ Schrodinger’s Cat.
Scientists from Yale University conducted an experiment that makes use of an ‘artificial’ quantum particle, made from an electrical circuit and a special type of insulating fence. By exposing this particle to radiation, the scientists were able to reverse what is called a quantum jump (when two particles interact with each other). This means that not only do scientists have a way of reversing a particle’s reaction to another molecule, but they have found a way to predict what kind of reaction that they will have. This can lead to a whole new batch of scientific and technological innovations.
Though these results are certainly positive, scientists admit that the experiment had it’s limits and further testing is in order. Saving Mr Schrodinger’s cat seems to be a positive step in the right direction nonetheless.