Controlling Photons in a Box and Exploring the Quantum to Classical Boundary
Presenter: Serge Haroche
Published: July 2014
Age: 18-22 and upwards
Views: 1266 views
Tags: quantum; superposition; schrodinger; cat
The founders of quantum theory assumed in ‘thought experiments’ that they were manipulating isolated quantum systems, obeying the counterintuitive laws which they had just discovered. Technological advances have recently turned these virtual experiments into real ones by making possible the actual control of isolated quantum particles. Many laboratories are realizing such experiments, in a research field at the frontier between physics and information science. Fundamentally, these studies explore the transition between the microscopic world, ruled by quantum laws, and our macroscopic environment, which appears ‘classical’. Practically, physicists hope that these experiments will result in new technologies exploiting the strange quantum logic to compute, communicate or measure physical quantities better than was previously conceivable. In Paris, we perform such experiments by juggling with photons trapped between superconducting mirrors. Dr Haroche gives a simple description of these studies, compare them to similar ones performed on other systems and guess about possible applications.