For the first time ever, scientists have managed to capture an image of the physical phenomenon called quantum entanglement, according to BBC News. The photograph was released by the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy, in Scotland.
Paul-Antoine Moreau, one of the researchers who helped developed the image, described the picture as “an elegant demonstration of a fundamental property of nature.”
“It’s an exciting result which could be used to advance the emerging field of quantum computing and lead to new types of imaging.”
Quantum entanglement was famously called “spooky action at a distance” by none other than Albert Einstein. It is defined by Science Daily as when the “quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated.”
In other words, it is when two or more objects become linked for reasons that science cannot yet understand.
According to Science Alert, the photo captured the quantum entanglement of two light particles, also known as photons. The photo shows the two particles briefly sharing a quantum state, and was captured by firing out streams of entangled photons at self-described “non-conventional objects.”
The scientists split the “entangled photons up and ran one beam through a liquid crystal material known as β-barium borate, triggering four phase transitions.”
The picture was then created by using the composites of the multiple images captured — images of the photons undergoing those four transitions.
“This result both opens the way to new quantum imaging schemes… and suggests promise for quantum information schemes based on spatial variables,” the research team concluded.
Scientists have captured the first ever image of a phenomenon Albert Einstein described as "spooky action at a distance". Photo shows a strong form of quantum entanglement, where two particles interact and share physical states for an instant. @BBCNews https://t.co/qP3aeo0Q5g pic.twitter.com/UtxGCzG8jG
— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) July 13, 2019
Knowledge into quantum entanglement is considered by many scientists to be the next frontier of progress, as quantum information processing could give rise to a new era of information technology, per Phys.org. While current computers use bits — i.e. the millions of zeros and ones — to process information, quantum computers rely on nearly instantaneous quantum mechanics that encodes those zeroes and ones into a quantum state, known as a qubit.
However, much of the physical phenomenon remains a mystery.
“Entanglement itself has been verified over many, many decades,” says Andrew Friedman, an astrophysicist at University of California, San Diego, per Symmetry Magazine. “The real challenge is that even though we know it’s an experimental reality, we don’t have a compelling story of how it actually works.”
The team published their findings in Science Advances under the title, “Imaging Bell-type Nonlocal Behavior.”