Quantum Physics: Schrodinger​’s Cat Can Be Saved, Physicists Found Out

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New research led by a group of physicists which were able to predict the quantum jump and even its reverse process was published in the journal Nature. The analysis was conducted on the legendary thought experiment of the cat placed in a box, created by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger, a “quiz” known as the Schrodinger’s cat.

The famous experiment conducted by Schrodinger​ is an example of one of the quantum physics attributes, namely the chancy demeanor of molecules at the quantum level. The difficulty of working with quantum systems has been demonstrated by the research team to be not entirely impossible, as the physicists said that they were able to save Schrodinger’s ​cat.

What’s the Schrodinger’s cat experiment?

The original experiment consisted of the Austrian physicist imagining a cat in a closed box. In the box, there’s also a Geiger counter, a tiny bit of a radioactive substance, and a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If the Geiger counter identifies the radioactive fragments of just one atom, it breaks apart the poison flask which will, in turn, kill the cat.

You cannot look inside to see whether that cat is dead or alive, so it exists in both states at the same time. This, until you open the box. The moment you open it, the state of the cat is immediately one of the two, totally at random, and cannot be in both states at the same time anymore.

This thought experiment is an analogy for what is called ‘quantum superposition,’ in which a molecule such as an atom, electron, or a photon can simultaneously exist in several energy states, until the moment you observe it. As soon as it is seen, its immediate and unpredictable transition between energy states is now known as a ‘quantum jump.’

Physicists found a way to “save” Schrodinger’s cat

Researchers were now able to predict, manipulate, and intentionally change the outcome of the quantum jump. The physicists, led by a Yale University team of researchers managed to do so by utilizing fabricated atoms also known as ‘qubits,’ which are being used as the primary units of information in a quantum computer.

Whenever you measure a qubit, it makes an unpredictable quantum jump in the long run, which can bring about issues in quantum computing. The researchers created an analysis to indirectly examine a superconducting qubit, utilizing three microwave generators to irradiate the qubit in a closed 3D box made of aluminum.

The microwave radiation shifts the qubit among energy stated, at the same time as another ray of microwave radiation observes the enclosure. What researchers discovered is that when the qubit is in a ground state, the microwave ray generates photons. A sheer lack of photons signifies that the qubit is going to make a quantum jump into an excited state. The study showed that the quantum jump wasn’t that much of a transition but more the slide of a lever.

Therefore, another, accurately timed beam of radiation can switch back the quantum jump after it has been observed, making the qubit go to its ground state, or, in the Schrodinger’s ​cat experiment, preclude the cat from dying which is the excited state, and bring it back to life, which is the ground state. Physicists cannot yet predict when precisely a quantum jump is going to ensue, but once it occurs, it always has the same trajectory. With more than 6.8 million jumps that the team analyzed, the pattern was regular.

Zlatko Minev, a physicist from Yale University, said that quantum jumps of an atom are, to some extent, similar to the eruption of a volcano, namely totally random in the long term. However, with accurate monitoring, they can identify a warning of an imminent hazard and take measures before it has happened.


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