Proof Of Quantum Vibrations
A new experiment successfully observing the effects of quantum motion, or tiny vibrations caused on an atomic level when an object otherwise appears to be stationary, has rocked physicists the world over.
Courtesy of NASA
Unlike traditional physics that states an object in motion will eventually come to a rest when the forces of gravity and friction act upon it, the study, published in the journal Science, has found that on the quantum level at the scale of atoms, nothing is ever truly at rest. Through extensive testing researchers were able to observe the effect not just at an atomic level, but at a larger micrometer-scale and, for the first time, also control the effect.
The researchers experiments involved placing a flexible aluminum plate on top of a silicon substrate. A superconducting electrical circuit was used to vibrate the plate 3.5 million times per second after which they rapidly cooled the plate to 0.01 Kelvin (-273.14°C, -459.65°F) reducing the vibrations, according to traditional physics, to zero. But when probing the plate with microwave fields they discovered a small quantum motion – roughly the diameter of a proton, or 10,000 times smaller than a hydrogen atom.
According to the study’s co-author Keith Schwab, the quantum noise is an “unavoidable consequence of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle,” which states that everything behaves like a particle and a wave at the same time. The team found that by carefully applying a controlled microwave field, they could reduce the motion in certain places, at the cost of making it much larger elsewhere, something known as quantum squeezing.
According to the university of Cambridge, “The challenge in gravitational wave astronomy is detecting the waves, and then disentangling the signals [from the quantum noise] to extract the information they contain.” The ability to control quantum noise could one day be used to improve the precision of very sensitive measurements, such as those obtained by LIGO (Laser Interferometry Gravitational-wave Observatory; pictured below) a Caltech-and-MIT-led project searching for signs of gravitational waves.
Assuming the physicists and Einstein are right, we should see the detection of these gravitational waves in the next few decades, wrapping up a series of predictions about how insanely strange our Universe behaves.
Better understanding gravitational waves can help us better understand the nature of reality. As human beings, we always knew we could fly, we just had to decipher and understand the nature of wind currents and pressure in order to get into the air. This is pretty much the same thing but for safe travel through space and possibly time.
What are your thoughts? Is this the beginning of another scientific revolution, or is all of this going to create more noise in our understanding of the universe? More answers or more questions? Join the conversation below and on Facebook, and on twitter using the hashtag #DMTalk.