A team of researchers now film quantum measurements Quantum physics describes the inner world of individual atoms, a world that is very different from our daily experiences.
One of the many strange but fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics is the role of the observer, who measures the state of the quantum system and changes it.
Measuring ions only takes a millionth of a second. By making “film” pictures taken at different times during measurement, they show that changing circumstances are gradually affected by measurements.
Atoms follow the laws of quantum mechanics, which often goes against our normal expectations. The inner quantum state of an atom is formed by the state of electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom. A team of researchers now film quantum measurements.
Electrons can circle the nucleus near or farther away. However, quantum mechanics also allows what is called a superposition state, where electrons occupy both orbits at the same time, but each orbit is only with a certain probability.
“Every time we measure the orbit of an electron, the answer to that measurement is that the electron is in a lower or higher orbit, there is never anything in between.
This also applies if the original quantum state is an overlay of both possibilities. Measurements effectively force electrons to decide which of the two states, “said Fabian Pokorny, a researcher in the Department of Physics at Stockholm University. A team of researchers now film quantum measurements.
“Film” shows developments during the measurement process. A separate photo shows tomographic data, where the height of the bar shows the level of overlay that is still maintained.
During the measurement, some overlays disappear and this loss gradually occurs while others are maintained as they should for perfect quantum measurements.
This result is important outside basic quantum theory. Quantum measurement is an important part of quantum computers.
The group at Stockholm University is working on computers based on captured ions, using measurements to report the results at the end of quantum calculations.