Molecules can be in two places at the same time


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Quantum mechanics, the most mysterious and least studied branch of physics, has repeatedly surprised scientists with their new and novel properties that are poorly suited to the traditional macroscopic world. Where exactly the border between her and the quantum worlds lies, remains an unsolved mystery. At the same time, in their recent experiment, physicists managed to open the veil of secrecy a little and show that even massive molecules can exist in two places simultaneously.

Not only atoms, but also molecules can be in two places at the same time

Is teleportation real?

The debate over whether it will be possible to bring one person to a more or less significant distance one day has not yet subsided. A new discovery that shows that not only atoms, but also relatively large molecules can be in two places at the same time, brings humanity a step closer to their old dream – conquering great distances in fractions of a second. A unique discovery has been made through the use of a somewhat modernized two-gap experiment often used in physics to study the properties of light photons. Thanks to him, the scientists once managed to arrive at the concept of the duality of light and at the same time behave like a particle and a wave.

See also: Quantum teleportation to a record of 30 kilometers

To perform an experiment with two gaps is quite simple in practice. First, make sure that the light source is pointed at the surface into which two cuts have been cut. Behind a certain area another area has to be placed on which light is projected. If the light consists only of ordinary particles, the pattern on the back appears only in the form and size of the slits. However, the double-slit experiment is unique in that the light waves suddenly bounce off each other like waves in the water, creating a kind of tiger pattern on the surface.

Conducting a two-gap experiment

The strangest thing about the experiment, however, is that even when the experiment is performed on individual light particles, the same striped pattern occurs. Somehow, these photons do not seem to follow one path as expected, but to intersect and mix.

In physics, such a phenomenon is referred to as quantum superposition, which is best illustrated by the Schrödinger cat. In this thought experiment, the cat hidden in the box is neither alive nor dead, but exists simultaneously in two states. When the viewer opens the box, the overlay collapses into one state or another. Even more unusual for the experiment is the fact that the stripe patterns would disappear instantly if the detectors were built into the slots to measure the path of the light. The blurring of the result becomes clear only during the measurement.

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At the same time, the phenomenon of superposition seems to be applicable only in the quantum field, since with increasing size of the objects the duality of light in the macroscopic world almost completely disappears. If so, is there a limit to the size of the object that can easily be in two places at the same time? To answer this question, scientists from the Universities of Vienna and Basel conducted a double-slit experiment with the largest molecules tested in the history of physics.

The previous record contained molecules with more than 800 atoms, but a research team managed to expand them to 2,000 atoms. Molecules existed in a state of quantum overlay and showed a similar result of the quantum bifurcation. A similar result shifts the microscopic boundary closer to our macro world and erases almost every line between them.