Anda di halaman 1dari 7

16/02/13

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News

Published online 17 March 2010 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2010.130 News

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics


Largest ever object put into quantum state.
Geoff Brumfiel

A team of scientists has succeeded in putting an object large enough to be visible to the naked eye into a mixed quantum state of moving and not moving. Andrew Cleland at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his team cooled a tiny metal paddle until it reached its quantum mechanical 'ground state' the lowest-energy state permitted by quantum mechanics. They then used the weird rules of quantum mechanics to simultaneously set the paddle moving while leaving it standing still. The experiment shows that the principles of quantum mechanics can apply to everyday objects as well as as atomic-scale particles. The work is simultaneously being published online today in Nature and presented today at the American Physical Society's meeting in Portland, Oregon1.
A quantum drum has become the first visible object to be put into a superposition of quantum states.

According to quantum theory, particles act as waves rather than point masses on very small scales. This has dozens of bizarre consequences: it is impossible to know a particle's exact position and velocity through space, yet it is possible A. Olsen/iStockphoto for the same particle to be doing two contradictory things simultaneously. Through a phenomenon known as 'superposition' a particle can be moving and stationary at the same time at least until an outside force acts on it. Then it instantly chooses one of the two contradictory positions. But although the rules of quantum mechanics seem to apply at small scales, nobody has seen evidence of them on a large scale, where outside influences can more easily destroy fragile quantum states. "No one has shown to date that if you take a big object, with trillions of atoms in it, that quantum mechanics applies to its motion," Cleland says. There is no obvious reason why the rules of quantum mechanics shouldn't apply to large objects. Erwin Schrdinger, one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, was so disturbed by the possibility of quantum weirdness on the large scale that he proposed his famous 'Schrdinger's cat' thought experiment. A cat is placed in a The paddle is around 30 micrometres box with a vial of cyanide and a radioactive source. If the source long. O'Connell, A. D. et al. decays, it triggers a device that will break the vial, killing the cat. During the time the box is shut, Schrdinger argued, the cat is in a superposition of alive and dead an absurdity as far as he was concerned. Wonderful weirdness

www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

1/7

16/02/13

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News

Cleland and his team took a more direct measure of quantum weirdness at the large scale. They began with a a tiny mechanical paddle, or 'quantum drum', around 30 micrometres long that vibrates when set in motion at a particular range of frequencies. Next they connected the paddle to a superconducting electrical circuit that obeyed the laws of quantum mechanics. They then cooled the system down to temperatures below one-tenth of a kelvin. At this temperature, the paddle slipped into its quantum mechanical ground state. Using the quantum circuit, Cleland and his team verified that the paddle had no vibrational energy whatsoever. They then used the circuit to give the paddle a push and saw it wiggle at a very specific energy. Next, the researchers put the quantum circuit into a superposition of 'push' and 'don't push', and connected it to the paddle. Through a series of careful measurements, they were able to show that the paddle was both vibrating and not vibrating simultaneously. "It's wonderful," says Hailin Wang, a physicist at the University of Oregon in Eugene who has been working on a rival technique for putting an oscillator into the ground state. The work shows that the laws of quantum mechanics hold up as expected on a large scale. "It's good for physics for sure," Wang says. So if trillions of atoms can be put into a quantum state, why don't we see double-decker buses simultaneously stopping and going? Cleland says he believes size does matter: the larger an object, the easier it is for outside forces to disrupt its quantum state. "The environment is this huge, complex thing," says Cleland. "It's that interaction with this incredibly complex system that makes the quantum coherence vanish." Still, he says, there's plenty of reasons to keep trying to get large objects into quantum states. Large quantum states could tell researchers more about the relationship between quantum mechanics and gravity something that is not well understood. And quantum resonators could be useful for something, although Cleland admits he's not entirely sure what. "There might be some interesting application," he says. "But frankly, I don't have one now." References
1. O'Connell, A. D. et al. Nature doi:10.1038/nature08967 (2010).

Comments
If you find something abusive or inappropriate or which does not otherwise comply with our Terms or Community Guidelines, please select the relevant 'Report this comment' link. Comments on this thread are vetted after posting.

The standard of writing in this article is very poor. A particle "chooses" one of the superposed states? A special #9733 electrical circuit that obeys the laws of quantum mechanics? Pushing on the paddle with the circuit? Particles do not have minds, and do not choose anything; they have a probability of being in a given observable state when observed. However you want to interpret that, there is no little electron stroking its goatee and mulling over two attractive states. All electrical circuits, and everything else, obey the laws of quantum mechanics. If there is some aspect of the circuit that exploits quantum indeterminacy, that should be mentioned in the article. How is the fact that the circuit is

www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

2/7

16/02/13

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News

superconducting relevant? Superconductivity is an interesting phenomenon. After half a page of very basic exposition on superposition, which many readers could be reasonably expected to know, superconductivity is given no explanation whatsoever, nor is there any mention of why superconductivity is important in this system. I doubt that they actually picked up the circuit and pushed on the paddle with it. Did they use the circuit to generate a magnetic field which deflected the paddle? Did they operate the circuit at the resonant frequency of the paddle? Understandably, some technical details must be simplified in order to reach a general audience. However, by glossing over basic elements of the science, a reader without a background in physics would be left with the impression that some wizardly scientists did something magic that somehow made a drum wiggle and not wiggle at the same time. By providing a more informed description of what happens, the truly strange nature of quantum behavior would reach the readership. Report this comment Posted by: Planx Constant 2010-03-18 02:31:04 PM

Got it. Magic, goatee stroking electrons generate magnetic fields of the paddle's resonant frequency. Report this comment Posted by: REAListic optimIST

#9735

2010-03-18 03:05:23 PM

I both understood and did not understand this article at the same time. Report this comment Posted by: john smith

#9736 2010-03-18 03:43:34 PM

Hey Very interesting article.

#9737

Could you please post more data along with other technical details about how the drum is vibrating and non vibrating? Thank You Deepak Report this comment Posted by: Deepak Goel 2010-03-18 04:41:25 PM

Is this like the hutchison effect. I do not think he understands the science. How do items enter this state? Report this comment Posted by: Tom Miller

#9738

2010-03-18 05:38:48 PM

"The work is simultaneously being published online today in Nature and presented today at the American Physical Society" But surely you can only do one or the other? Report this comment Posted by: Bob Dickinson

#9739

2010-03-18 06:33:02 PM

#9740 I'm afraid I must agree with Planx Constant, who stated things quite nicely. I would like to add that the reference to Schrdinger's cat in this article is completely inappropriate. Schrdinger was NOT comfortable with the idea. He proposed his zombie cat thought experiment solely to demonstrate the ridiculousness of quantum theory. It's unfortunate that so many well meaning and well educated people misunderstand what Schrdinger was trying to explain. Report this comment Posted by: Ben Etherington 2010-03-18 07:13:27 PM

Ben, I think you should go back and read the article. It clearly states that the extension of quantum mechanics to #9742 macroscopic objects "disturbed" Schrodinger, and that he believed that the result showed an "absurdity" of quantum

www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

3/7

16/02/13

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News

mechanics. An excellent point Planx. Report this comment Posted by: Andrew Hoff 2010-03-18 07:32:04 PM

If anyone's interested, Cleland's research group at UCSB has some information on their website that might clarify their work with superconducting quantum electronics. www.physics.ucsb.edu/~clelandgroup The superconducting/quantum electronics in this experiment is (I believe) based on the Josephson effect. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephson_junction Report this comment Posted by: Kate Kelch

#9745

2010-03-18 10:19:46 PM

Regarding Planx Constant comment: Particles do not have minds, and do not choose anything

#9746

I has been established by mathematicians Conway and Kochen that if human beings have free will then so do subatomic particles. The original article can be found through google scholar and here is one of many articles written about it http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/35391/title/Math_Trek__Do_subatomic_particles_have_free_will%3F Report this comment Posted by: f f 2010-03-19 01:01:22 AM

"I has been established by mathematicians Conway and Kochen that if human beings have free will then so do subatomic particles." Ie Humans do not have free will. Report this comment Posted by: Shaun Taylor

#9747

2010-03-19 05:27:57 AM

"A team of scientists has succeeded in putting an object large enough to be visible to the naked eye into a mixed #9756 quantum state of moving and not moving." This is old hat. The US Senate perfected the science of simultaneously moving and not moving long ago! Report this comment Posted by: S Goodman 2010-03-19 02:00:03 PM

Ok. Why do you guys always complain about the low level writing in these article? You do realize that this isn't #9757 the actual write-up, right? You do know if you really want details of the apparatus, data, and jargon you have to read the actual paper, right? This is news, not an actual science paper. Why you expect a news article to be the publication of the work itself is, I will never know. GO GET A COPY OF THE ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC PAPER, STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW THIS ISN'T THE ACTUAL PAPER, BECAUSE IT ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE. Report this comment Posted by: Don Don 2010-03-19 02:44:16 PM

#9759 The whole of quantum physics began with the double slit diffraction experiment. I reviewed the literature on the subject a few years ago and found that no one has ever done the experiment with a light source that by design emits only one photon or electron at a time. Always the experiment has been done with a source that is a bright source that is then filtered and assumed to emit single photons/electrons. If someone did the experiment with a source known by design to produce single photons they would reshape our understanding of the subject. ~~

www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

4/7

16/02/13

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News

Report this comment

Posted by: Mye Flatley

2010-03-19 03:44:02 PM

Gentlemen / Ladies:

#9761

As an instrumentation engineer with 40 years experience, I would like to suggest that perhaps we are being premature if we conclude that this experiment may not have practical applications. We may have a quantum clock here, and by extension with mechanical linkages, it may be possible to construct a multistage modulo 2 quantum mechanical counter, in all count states at once. Also, consider micro-mechanical embodiments of the Fredkin and Toffoli gates. As far as Mother Nature goes, we may be leaving the barstool too soon she may be agreeing to go home with us for some computational loving. Pay attention. Yum. Best to all, Norm Looper Analog Scientific Inc. San Diego California Report this comment Posted by: Norm Looper 2010-03-19 04:12:24 PM

With quantum teleportation possible, the ability to create new exotic materials atom-by-atom, to modify DNA, #9762 and do numerous other fun things, it's beginning to look like a perfect prescription for the Tower of Babel. Unless, of course, we're the only intelligence in the universe, so no one else would care. Report this comment Posted by: dale thorn 2010-03-19 04:36:25 PM

"As an instrumentation engineer with 40 years experience, I would like to suggest that perhaps we are being premature if we conclude that this experiment may not have practical applications. We may have a quantum clock here, and by extension with mechanical linkages, it may be possible to construct a multistage modulo 2 quantum mechanical counter . . ." Screw that, make us a weapon. Or a time machine. Or a time machine with a quantum weapon strapped onto it. Report this comment Posted by: L. Sid Viscoso

#9766

2010-03-19 07:27:05 PM

RE: "Particles do not have minds, and do not choose anything". I will have you know that I have a very fine mind #9768 and choose many things everyday. We must end stereotyping of all particles, be they atomic sub-atomic or tralfamadorian! Report this comment Posted by: meera lee 2010-03-19 09:03:30 PM

Quantum drum is quite interesting.Do Quantum Zeno effect is applicable here? Dr Joseph Makkolil,CUSAT Report this comment Posted by: Joseph Makkolil

#9785

2010-03-23 12:45:13 AM

Can the paddle be really not vibrating in its ground state ?? Isn't there something called a Zero Point Energy ? The energy cannot be zero even in the ground state ! Report this comment Posted by: Zero Point

#9787

2010-03-23 09:47:55 AM

To Mye Flatley, Please see the famous experiments by Alain Aspect and colleagues. Also, have a look at

#9859

www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

5/7

16/02/13

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News

Wikipedia, <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment> Report this comment Posted by: Richard Fong 2010-03-25 12:21:37 PM

I want to know more specificly about the shape of the paddle and other systems. Could you please provide some #9885 videos or pictures? Report this comment Posted by: Xinfei Guo 2010-03-26 12:23:07 PM

Who cares about the cat? I want to know what happens to Scott Bakula now. Report this comment Posted by: a bothan spy

#9894 2010-03-27 07:46:09 AM

It s very interesting.Moving and not moving.That is quantum. Report this comment Posted by: soni j.l.

#9904 2010-03-28 07:20:19 AM

Wow, that's an amazing break through. I wonder how it will affect computing. I'm not a scientist, but I do like #12374 breakthroughs like this. I watched the movie "What the Blip Do We Know?" and it did open up my eyes to the quantum physics. Windows Ottawa Report this comment Posted by: Jason Dinees 2010-07-29 10:08:31 AM

the physical description at the scale of atoms: that's Quantum mechanics , and the even smaller scales of fundamental particles. interesting post wireless router comparison regards: Hayden Report this comment Posted by: Hayden Harnet

#12537

2010-08-06 09:50:55 PM

This sounds really complicated. I am not sure if I uderstand everything. But it sounds not bad. Quantum will be #12796 important for the futures of different things. I hope to earn some <a href="http://www.digital-geld.de/" title="kredite">sofortkredit</a> in the future. Report this comment Posted by: Paul Begles 2010-08-17 04:40:00 AM

#13130 Quantum Mechanics is also very philosophical issue. Mathematics used in Quantum Mechanics Theorem makes lot's of phylosophical repercusion. I've written something about it on my blog: indeterminism in quantum physics Unfortunatelly art is in polish language so You have to use google transalte Report this comment Posted by: Slaw Jakimowicz 2010-08-28 09:02:26 AM

Quantum Mechanics is also very philosophical issue. Mathematics used in Quantum Mechanics Theorem makes#13131 lot's of phylosophical repercusion. I've written something about it on my blog: indeterminism in quantum physics indeterminism in quantum physics Unfortunatelly art is in polish language so You have to use google transalte Report this comment Posted by: Slaw Jakimowicz 2010-08-28 09:10:10 AM

Add your own comment


This is a public forum. Please keep to our Community Guidelines. You can be controversial, but please don't get

www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

6/7

16/02/13

Scientists supersize quantum mechanics : Nature News

personal or offensive and do keep it brief. Remember our threads are for feedback and discussion - not for publishing papers, press releases or advertisements. You need to be registered with Nature to leave a comment. Please log in or register as a new user. You will be re-directed back to this page. Log in / register

Nature

ISSN 0028-0836

EISSN 1476-4687
Privacy policy Use of cookies Legal notice Terms Naturejobs Nature Asia Nature Education RSS web feeds About Nature News Nature News Sitemap

About NPG Contact NPG Accessibility statement Help

Search:

go

2013 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved. partner of AGORA, HINARI, OARE, INASP, ORCID, CrossRef and COUNTER

www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

7/7