Quantum Entanglement, Ancient Quasars a Lifeline?

Quantum Entanglement, Ancient Quasars a Lifeline?

Credit: MIT

A study of quasars reveal that the Quantum Entanglement is a must to explain the correlations between particles in all instances.

Astronomers recognize quasars as the furthest celestial objects discovered. They emit energy in vast quantities. Some are a trillion times more luminous than the Sun. Factually, Quasars outshine stars in their galaxy, producing energy via colossal black holes situated at their galactic core. However, being light-years away their energy takes billions of years to reach Earth. They have become one of the most researched celestial bodies in the universe as it is believed they hold a key to unravel the mystery of creation. Recently scientists have progressed in confirming quantum entanglement using two Quasars. Quantum entanglement states that the properties of particles can be linked no matter how far apart in the universe they may be.

When the ‘spooky action at a distance’ occurs, quantum entanglement is in play. Sets of entangled particles having a distance of light years between them will experience identical effects to their respective properties. According to the calculations of John Bell, there is a theoretical limit after which the rules of classical Physics fail to explain the correlations between particles. The researchers at the MIT took a leaf out of his book and said,

“Scientists looking to prove quantum entanglement have to show that measured correlations between particles cannot be explained by classical physics.”

The group of physicists who gathered reliable proof of quantum entanglement last year, have now found something even more promising. Last year, this team of researchers studied 600-years-old starlight to see if the correlations between particles could be described by classical physics. This classical origin would have to predate the happenings of the time when the star shone. The success of that experiment inspired the team to close the loopholes even further by scaling up and using ancient quasars to gauge if classical mechanics can clarify correlation between particles. This could prove to be a massive boost for the theory of quantum entanglement.

The researchers selected two quasars whose light originated 7.8 billion years and 12.2 billion years ago. Using light from these quasars, the researchers determined the angle at which a polarizer should be tilted to measure the orientation of each photon’s electric field. Scientists used telescopes located at detectors to measure the wavelength of the entangled photons (light particles) in the light coming from the quasars. If the light was redder than a reference wavelength (a measurement used for comparison that is taken at a different wavelength than those being studied), the polarizer tilted to measure the incoming photon. If the light was bluer than the reference wavelength, the polarizer would tilt to a different angle to measure the photon.

Researchers used small telescopes in the study performed last year which restricted them to measure light only from those stars that were 600 light-years away. Contrary to that, they used larger, more powerful telescopes this time around which enabled them to measure the light from much older, more distant quasars using. They found correlations in over 30,000 pairs of photons while studying entangled photons with these ancient quasars. These correlations went well beyond the limit set by Bell, showing that, if there was any classical explanation for the correlated particles, it would have to come from before these ancient quasars emitted light — many billions of years ago. Alan Gut, a Physicist at the MIT and a Co-author of the recent study mentioned that by saying,

“If some conspiracy is happening to simulate quantum mechanics by a mechanism that is actually classical, that mechanism would have had to begin its operations — somehow knowing exactly when, where, and how this experiment was going to be done — at least 7.8 billion years ago. That seems incredibly implausible, so we have very strong evidence that quantum mechanics is the right explanation.”

According to Gut, it is ‘implausible’ for the measured correlations to have a classical explanation. Strong evidence exists that quantum mechanics caused this correlation and that quantum entanglement is valid. David Kaiser, another co-author of the study, strengthened the claims in the following words:

“The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, so any alternative mechanism — different from quantum mechanics — that might have produced our results by exploiting this loophole would’ve had to be in place long before even there was a planet Earth, let alone an MIT. So we’ve pushed any alternative explanations back to very early in cosmic history.”

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