Washington: A research team has developed a mathematical model for a type of microscopic test lab that could provide new and deeper insight into the world of quantum particles.
The new test system will enable the simultaneous study of one hundred light quanta (photons) and their complex quantum mechanical relationships ("quantum entanglement") - a far greater number than was previously possible.
Theoretical physicist Frank Wilhelm-Mauch and his research group at Saarland University have used mathematical methods to develop a micro laboratory that is not dissimilar to a length of conventional antenna cable but that provides a controlled system with which to examine the transition between these two worlds.
The researchers hope to gain new insights that will be of relevance to the development of quantum computers.
Professor Wilhelm-Mauch said that they expect that quantum properties will become weaker or even disappear entirely above a certain system size.
He said that in order to be able to study this transition and the associated quantum state, we have developed a novel concept consisting of a very large test system of 100 distinguishable photons that will form the basis of measurements and that will enable these measurements to be carried out without losing a single photon.
He said that the cable itself will be made of superconducting material and the experiments will be carried out at low temperatures.
Up until now attempts to make these sorts of measurements have suffered from significant photon losses. Using the conventional methods available today a measurement on a system of 100 photons ends up measuring only one single photon.
As the light quanta can simultaneously occupy several states, any measurement, once made, can provide only a very limited view of what is an extremely complex process. A single measured value can only ever describe one of the many possible states.
The results have been published in Physical Review Letters.