Schrdingers cat is the most famous thought experimentation of quantum mechanics. A cat is locked in a box with a poison activated by a quantum process, which is in a superposition of two states. This leads to the entire system being in that state, so( as long as the box is closed) the cat is at the same time both alive and dead.
The thought experimentation was set up as a criticism of the main interpreting of quantum mechanics, shining a light on the unclear edge between the classical world and the quantum one. And now physicists might be ready to push the quantum beyond the microscopic and create a macroscopic( visible to the naked eye) Schrdingers cat state.
Dont worry, physicists wont harm any cats in this attempt. Researchers from the Russian Quantum Center and theUniversity of Calgary are generating superposition states using illumination. Their technique is reported in Nature Photonics.
Replacing the cat as the object that is in two states with opposite properties, they used light. Two light waves are placed in superposition, with the electromagnetic fields of the waves pointing in opposite directions. This is not too hard to do when the amplitude( intensity of the fields) of the waves is small, but to enhance the amplitude in a classical physics regime has evaded scientists. Until now.
The team made an amplified signal by putting two light “cat” states through a ray splitter, producing an entangled country in the two output channels of the apparatus. Measurings showed that they were able to more than double the energy of the newborn “cat” in the output.
“It is important that the procedure can be repeated: new ‘cats’ can, in turn, be overlapped on a ray splitter, making one with even higher energy, and so on, ” result writer Demid Sychev, from the Russian Quantum Center, said in a statement. “Thus, it is possible to move the boundaries of the quantum world step by step, and eventually to understand whether it has a limit.”
Resolving this question in an experimental way will have a significant impact in how we imagine and deal with quantum mechanics.
“One of the fundamental questions of physics is the boundary between the quantum and classical worlds, ” added senior author Professor Alexander Lvovsky, from the University of Calgary and head of the Quantum Optics Laboratory of the Russian Quantum Center. “Can quantum phenomena, ideal conditions, be observed in macroscopic objects? Theory devotes no answer to this question maybe there is no such boundary. What we need is a tool that will probe it.”
Quantum mechanics might seem distant and complicated but its applicationsare found in most of the technology we use every day. And future technology might be even more overtly quantum.