Is that light particle more like a ball careening through space, or more of a smeary mess that is everywhere at once?
The answer depends on whether the absurd laws of subatomic particles or the deterministic equations that govern larger objects hold more sway. Now, for the first time, physicists have found a way to mathematically define the degree of quantumness that anything be it particle, atom, molecule or even a planet exhibits. The result suggests a way to quantify quantumness and identify "the most quantum states" of a system, which the team calls the "Kings and Queens of Quantumness."
In addition to furthering our understanding of the universe, the work could find applications in quantum technologies such as gravitational wave detectors and ultra-precise measurement devices.
Related: From Big Bang to present: snapshots of our universe through time
At the subatomic heart of reality, the bizarre world of quantum mechanics reigns. Under these mind-bending rules, tiny subatomic particles such as electrons can be paired in strange superpositions of states meaning that an electron can exist in multiple states at once and their positions around an atom and even their momentums aren't fixed until they're observed. These teensy particles even have the ability to tunnel through seemingly insurmountable barriers.
Classical objects, on the other hand, follow the normal everyday rules of our experience. Billiard balls strike off one another; cannonballs fly along parabolic arcs; and planets spin around their orbits according to well-known physical equations.
Researchers have long pondered this odd state of affairs, where some entities in the cosmos can be defined classically, while others are subject to probabilistic quantum laws meaning you can measure only probable outcomes.
But "according to quantum mechanics, everything is quantum mechanical," Aaron Goldberg, a physicist at the University of Toronto in Canada and lead author of the new paper, told Live Science. "Just because you don't see these strange things every day doesn't mean they aren't there."
What Goldberg means is that classical objects like billiard balls are secretly quantum systems, so there exists some infinitesimally small probability that they will, say, tunnel through the side of a pool table. This suggests that there is a continuum, with "classicalness" on one end and "quantumness" on the other.
A little while back, one of Goldberg's co-authors, Luis Sanchez-Soto of the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain, was giving a lecture when a participant asked him what would be the most quantum state a system could be in. "That triggered everything," Sanchez-Soto told Live Science.
Previous attempts at quantifying quantumness always looked at specific quantum systems, like those containing particles of light, and so the outcomes couldn't necessarily be applied to other systems that included different particles like atoms. Goldberg, Sanchez-Soto and their team searched instead for a generalized way of defining extremes in quantum states.
"We can apply this to any quantum system atoms, molecules, light or even combinations of those things by using the same guiding principles," Goldberg said. The team found that these quantum extremes could come in at least two different types, naming some Kings and others Queens for their superlative nature.
They reported their findings Nov. 17 in the journal AVS Quantum Science.
So what exactly does it mean for something to be "the most quantum?" Here is where the work gets tricky, since it is highly mathematical and difficult to easily visualize.
But Pieter Kok, a physicist at the University of Sheffield in England, who was not involved in writing the new paper, suggested a way to get some grasp on it. One of the most basic physical systems is a simple harmonic oscillator that is, a ball on the end of a spring moving back and forth, Kok told Live Science.
A quantum particle would be on the classical extreme if it behaved like this ball and spring system, found at specific points in time based on the initial kick it received. But if the particle were to be quantum mechanically smeared out so that it had no well-defined position and was found throughout the pathway of the spring and ball, it would be in one of these quantum extreme states.
Despite their peculiarity, Kok considers the results quite useful and hopes they will find widespread application. Knowing that there is a fundamental limit where a system is acting the most quantum it can is like knowing that the speed of light exists, he said.
"It puts constraints on things that are complicated to analyze," he added.
Goldberg said that the most readily apparent applications should come from quantum metrology, where engineers attempt to measure physical constants and other properties with extreme precision. Gravitational wave detectors, for example, need to be able to measure the distance between two mirrors to better than 1/10,000th the size of an atomic nucleus. Using the team's principles, physicists might be able to improve on this impressive feat.
But the findings could also help researchers in fields such as fiber optical communications, information processing and quantum computing. "There are probably many applications that we haven't even thought about," Goldberg said, excitedly.
Originally published on Live Science.
Go here to read the rest:
Physicists discover the 'Kings and Queens of Quantumness' - Livescience.com
- Major Quantum Computing Projects And Innovations Of 2020 - Analytics India Magazine - January 2nd, 2021
- A little better all the time in 2021 - Science Magazine - January 2nd, 2021
- Quantum Computing Entwined with AI is Driving the Impossible to Possible - Analytics Insight - January 2nd, 2021
- QubitTech shapes the future of quantum computing - IBTimes India - January 2nd, 2021
- The Biggest Science Stories of 2020 | Technically Speaking - Inside Tucson Business - January 2nd, 2021
- Tech trends to watch in 2021 - India Today - January 2nd, 2021
- Tech trends in 2021: How artificial intelligence and technology will reshape businesses - The Financial Express - January 2nd, 2021
- The silver lining of 2020 - SouthCoastToday.com - January 2nd, 2021
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market Size, Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key Players, Competitive Strategies and... - January 2nd, 2021
- Malaysia: Leveraging On Digitalisation Trends - The ASEAN Post - January 2nd, 2021
- 01 Communique to Present at the SNN Network Canada Virtual Event on Thursday January 7, 2021 - IT News Online - January 2nd, 2021
- Beam me up: long-distance quantum teleportation has happened for the first time ever - SYFY WIRE - December 27th, 2020
- Global Quantum Computing Market Predicted to Garner $667.3 Million by 2027, Growing at 30.0% CAGR from 2020 to 2027 - [193 pages] Informative Report... - December 27th, 2020
- Two Years into the Government's National Quantum Initiative - Nextgov - December 27th, 2020
- Bitcoin is quantum computing resistant regardless of rising fears among investors - FXStreet - December 27th, 2020
- Fidelity Investments leaps back to the future in an experiment to restore active management to its lofty perch, using technology that is still more... - December 27th, 2020
- World first Australian solution to protect sensitive data from Quantum threat - Industry Update Manufacturing Media - December 27th, 2020
- Rewind 2020: Business, politics, social and professional impact, and what lies ahead - YourStory - December 27th, 2020
- As China Leads Quantum Computing Race, U.S. Spies Plan for a World with Fewer Secrets - Newsweek - December 15th, 2020
- Chinese quantum computer may be the most powerful ever seen - Siliconrepublic.com - December 15th, 2020
- Anyon Systems to Deliver a Quantum Computer to the Canadian Department of National Defense - GlobeNewswire - December 15th, 2020
- Show Your Work: D-Wave Opens the Door to Performance Comparisons Between Quantum Computing Architectures - HPCwire - December 15th, 2020
- NWA funding for taking quantum technology to the public Bits&Chips - Bits&Chips - December 3rd, 2020
- 01 Communique to Present at the Benzinga Global Small Cap Conference on December 8 - IT News Online - December 3rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market : Analysis and In-depth Study on Size Trends, and Regional Forecast - Cheshire Media - December 3rd, 2020
- Quantum computer race intensifies as alternative technology gains steam - Nature.com - November 19th, 2020
- Quantum computing now is a bit like SQL was in the late 80s: Wild and wooly and full of promise - ZDNet - November 19th, 2020
- Construction begins for Duke University's new quantum computing center - WRAL Tech Wire - November 19th, 2020
- Is Now the Time to Start Protecting Government Data from Quantum Hacking? - Nextgov - November 19th, 2020
- CCNY & partners in quantum algorithm breakthrough | The City College of New York - The City College of New York News - November 19th, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Forecast to 2028: How it is Going to Impact on Global Industry to Grow in Near Future - Eurowire - November 19th, 2020
- What's Next In AI, Chips And Masks - SemiEngineering - November 19th, 2020
- Every Thing You Need to Know About Quantum Computers - Analytics Insight - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum computing will impact the enterprise--we just don't know how - TechRepublic - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing and the Cryptography Conundrum - CXOToday.com - October 23rd, 2020
- IBM and Mastercard among partners of 11.1m Irish quantum project - Siliconrepublic.com - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market Research including Growth Factors, Types and Application by regions by 2026 - Eurowire - October 23rd, 2020
- University of Rhode Island names respected professor, researcher, computational scientist to lead research computing efforts - URI Today - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Trends and Forecast to 2028 - TechnoWeekly - October 23rd, 2020
- New York needs to be reimagined with technology and job training - Crain's New York Business - October 23rd, 2020
- Global Smart Cities Market Analysis 2020-2025: AI, IoT, and 5G (AIoT5G) will be the Most Influential Technologies - 63%, 34%, and 52% Respectively -... - October 23rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Market 2020 | Outlook, Growth By Top Companies, Regions, Types, Applications, Drivers, Trends & Forecasts by 2025 - PRnews... - October 17th, 2020
- What is an algorithm? How computers know what to do with data - The Conversation US - October 17th, 2020
- Put Employees at the Center of Your Post-Pandemic Digital Strategy - Harvard Business Review - October 17th, 2020
- Most Read articles - LED drivers, Foundry market, Arm staffing - Electronics Weekly - October 17th, 2020
- 4 Reasons Why Now Is the Best Time to Start With Quantum Computing - Medium - October 15th, 2020
- The Future of Computing: Hype, Hope, and Reality - CIOReview - October 15th, 2020
- Menlo Micro, a startup bringing semiconductor tech to the humble switch, is ready for its closeup - TechCrunch - October 15th, 2020
- Rare magnetism found in the world's strongest material - Live Science - October 15th, 2020
- Room-temperature superconductivity has been achieved for the first time - MIT Technology Review - October 15th, 2020
- Global quantum computing market is projected to register a healthy CAGR of 29.5% in the forecast period of 2019 to 2026. - re:Jerusalem - October 15th, 2020
- Bring On The Qubits: How The Quantum Computing Arms Race Affects Legal - Technology - United States - Mondaq News Alerts - September 30th, 2020
- Under the dragons thumb: Chinese heft in VPNs and Indias vulnerability in a quantum-computing era - Economic Times - September 30th, 2020
- New Study Reveals 81% of Fortune 1000 Decision-Makers Have a Quantum Computing Use-Case In Mind For The Next Three Years Quantum computing emerges as... - September 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies Market Potential Growth, Size, Share, Demand and Analysis of Key Players Research Forecasts to 2027 - The Daily... - September 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing in Aerospace and Defense Market Analysis, Trends, Opportunity, Size and Segment Forecasts to 2028 - Crypto Daily - September 30th, 2020
- Pentagon Is Clinging to Aging Technologies, House Panel Warns - The New York Times - September 30th, 2020
- The global silicon photonics market accounted for $520.0 million in 2019 and is expected to reach $3.07 billion by 2025 - PRNewswire - September 30th, 2020
- Are We Close To Realising A Quantum Computer? Yes And No, Quantum Style - Swarajya - September 14th, 2020
- Spin-Based Quantum Computing Breakthrough: Physicists Achieve Tunable Spin Wave Excitation - SciTechDaily - September 14th, 2020
- NSF and DOE to Advance Industries of the Future - ARC Viewpoints - September 14th, 2020
- Global Quantum Computing Market 2025 To Expect Maximum Benefit and Growth Potential During this COVID 19 Outbreak: D-Wave Systems, Google, IBM, Intel,... - September 14th, 2020
- Why quantum computing matters - Axios - August 26th, 2020
- The future of artificial intelligence and quantum computing - Military & Aerospace Electronics - August 26th, 2020
- BBVA Uncovers The Promise Of Quantum Computing For Banking And Financial Services - Forbes - August 26th, 2020
- Has the world's most powerful computer arrived? - The National - August 26th, 2020
- Giant atoms enable quantum processing and communication in one - MIT News - August 4th, 2020
- Computer Scientist Don Towsley Named to Team Developing the Quantum Internet - UMass News and Media Relations - August 4th, 2020
- COVID-19 Impact on Quantum Computing Market Research, Growth, Industry Analysis, Size and Share 2025 | IBM Corporation, Google - My Kids Health - August 4th, 2020
- IBM and the University of Tokyo Unveil the Quantum Innovation Initiative Consortium to Accelerate Japan's Quantum Research and Development Leadership... - August 2nd, 2020
- Insights & Outcomes: a new spin on quantum research, and the biology of sex - Yale News - August 2nd, 2020
- This simple explainer tackles the complexity of quantum computing - Boing Boing - July 29th, 2020
- UK firm reaches final stages of the NIST quest for quantum-proof encryption algorithms - www.computing.co.uk - July 29th, 2020
- Looking Back on The First-Ever Photo of Quantum Entanglement - ScienceAlert - July 29th, 2020
- Quantum reckoning: The day when computers will break cryptography - ITWeb - July 29th, 2020
- Ripple CTO: Quantum computers will be a threat to Bitcoin and XRP - Crypto News Flash - July 29th, 2020
- The 6 Biggest Technology Trends In Accounting And Finance - Forbes - July 29th, 2020
- Ripple Executive Says Quantum Computing Will Threaten Bitcoin, XRP and Crypto Markets Heres When - The Daily Hodl - July 25th, 2020
- D-Waves quantum computing cloud comes to India - The Hindu - July 25th, 2020
- Hear how three startups are approaching quantum computing differently at TC Disrupt 2020 - TechCrunch - July 25th, 2020