Science 3 min read

Image of Quantum Entanglement Captured for the First Time

A group of physicists has just unveiled the first image of the quantum phenomenon that “spooked” Einstein, a.k.a. quantum entanglement.

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Image courtesy of Shutterstuck

Super-powerful computers capable of processing massive datasets, unhackable cryptographic systems, and ultraprecise clocks. These are just few of the practical applications of a quantum mechanics principle known as quantum entanglement.

In the weird world of quantum mechanics, two particles can be inextricably linked in a way that the quantum state of one has to be described with reference to the other. In other words, you can know a lot about one particle’s position, momentum, and other characteristics just by looking at the one it’s entangled with.

Changes you make to one particle, even by just taking measurements, would immediately affect the state of the other in the entangled quantum system. That’s regardless of the distance, even on astronomical scales. In 2017, Chinese researchers managed to teleport information between two photons spatially separated by 1,200 kilometers.

As esoteric a concept quantum entanglement sounds, now we have a picture of it!

Caught on Camera: Visual Evidence of Quantum Entanglement

This quantum mechanical phenomenon is so strange and complicated that iconic physicist Albert Einstein himself called it spooky action at a distance.” He was wrong about it like he was about a few other things.

But what would be Einstein’s reaction if he saw an image picturing two entangled photons? Because now, scientists have finally photographed quantum entanglement in all its, well, blurry and grayscale glory!

A team of physicists from the University of Glasgow in Scotland has managed, for the first time, to take a photo of quantum entanglement.

Photo of a strong form of quantum entanglement called Bell entanglement. University of Glasgow

The researchers captured this image of a form of quantum entanglement called Bell entanglement, using a system that blasts streams of entangled photons, and a super-sensitive camera. Capable of detecting single photons, the camera can take 40,000 frames per second, and would only take an image when it caught sight of the pair of entangled photons.

Dr. Paul-Antoine Moreau, a physicist at the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy and the lead author of the study, said:

“The image we’ve managed to capture is an elegant demonstration of a fundamental property of nature, seen for the very first time in the form of an image. It’s an exciting result which could be used to advance the emerging field of quantum computing and lead to new types of imaging.”

The researchers published the results of their experiment in the journal Science Advances.

Read More: Japanese Researchers Transport Quantum Information Within A Diamond

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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