Before you ask: No, we’re not talking about “Quantum Realm” seen in the MCU and the adventures of Ant-Man, But The real world of quantum mechanics, where the rules of classical physics are not welcome. Here is what happened in the important experiment carried out in the laboratories of Zurich.
Quantum mechanics is that (huge) branch of physics that deals with it Atomic and subatomic world, as all classical theories seem to lose their meaning. For scientists, one of the greatest challenges is to be able to properly marry the realm of the infinite with the realm of the infinitely small, but it certainly isn’t easy.
To find out more and more about this contrast between quantum and classic, Physicists try to take things from the physical world and test them under extreme conditions, in order to force them to act in a “quantum” manner. We are looking for that step that connects the two worlds, which can open doors to new physics.
In the recent experiment conducted at the EHT Laboratories in Zurich – one of the most famous research centers in the world – the researchers focused on a very small portion A glass ball, with a size of about 100 nanometers (nm) in diameter. To give you an idea, this measurement corresponds to about one-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair.
To us, it may seem like something infinitesimally small, but if you have to work with quantum physics, the object is not small (keep in mind that a sphere is made up of about 10 million atoms). Scientists have tried to make the nanosphere behave in a quantum manner, and they seem to have succeeded, or nearly so.
Using carefully calibrated laser lights, the vitreous was trapped and suspended in a hollow optical cage, where The temperature reaches about -269°C (approximately to absolute zero). The combination of highs and extreme cold allowed the ball’s particles to lose nearly all of their thermal motion and not be affected by any interference. Only in this way, in fact, can one begin to observe quantum phenomena on large-scale objects.
“However, in order to clearly see the quantum effects, the nanosphere must slow down further, down to its fundamental state of motion.‘, explains an EHT . engineer Felix Tpinjohans. “We put the field to the limits of our instrument estimation, and where quantum mechanical uncertainty precludes further exploration“.
Although the experiment could not lead to a true “quantum glass ball”, the researchers were nonetheless satisfied with their work, because the tools they operated (and designed) proved reliable and even More useful than those used in the past.
The study was published in the authoritative scientific journal Nature . On July 14, 2021.