Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Researchers from ICFO use quantum physics to observe delicate systems: Schrödinger's cat has a light touch

Cat
Cat

Abstract:
A paper published in Nature Photonics introduces a new way to observe very delicate bodies based on quantum physics. Researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) have shown that groups of photons organized in certain quantum states can gently explore the properties of objects in a non-invasive way. The results overcome for the first time a limit imposed by quantum mechanics, and may permit the observation of unknown properties of ultra-sensitive objects such as individual atoms or living cells.

Researchers from ICFO use quantum physics to observe delicate systems: Schrödinger's cat has a light touch

Barcelona, Spain | Posted on December 19th, 2012

Light is used in many fields of science to obtain precise information without damaging the subject matter. In biology, for instance, living cells can be visualized using optical microscopes. The optical microscope uses a photon beam to penetrate the cell and give a picture. Due to the high transparency of the cell, most of the photons pass through without leaving a trace. A small fraction, however, is absorbed and causes cell damage, in much the same way that the sun causes sunburn. Certain cells are more delicate, and the damage caused by photons can be mortal. Until now in these circumstances, scientists have limited the amount of light used in order to avoid damaging the cell, but the cost was a lower quality image.

Quantum physics could dramatically change this scenario. The research group led by ICREA Professor at ICFO Morgan Mitchell has shown that photons prepared in certain quantum states can provide more information, giving a clearer picture while causing less damage. These states are difficult to imagine: they require that all photons be polarized in one direction and also in the opposite direction, being in two different states at once. This is similar to a thought experiment described by Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. He imagined a hypothetical cat in a "superposition of states", being simultaneously alive and dead at the same time. Two years ago, researchers in Mitchell's group proposed a method for producing these exotic states. In this article, they demonstrate the experimental realization of this quantum state and its increased effectiveness for imaging very delicate objects.

The researchers have chosen a cloud of rubidium atoms for their experiment. This cloud of rubidium serves as a model system: "Atoms of rubidium are a good model because on one hand, they share the same characteristics as the cells in relation to the information obtained and damage caused and, on the other hand, we have very precise knowledge of their characteristics" explains Mitchell.

In the experiment, scientist prepared pairs of photons in a "Schrödinger cat" state, and then sent them through a cloud of atoms, measuring their polarization on the way out. In this way, they were able to deduce the number of atoms in the cloud and the magnetic field of their surroundings. At the same time, they were able to assess the damage, i.e. the number of photons absorbed by the cloud. With the Schrödinger cat, the ratio between information obtained and damage caused exceeds the so-called "standard quantum limit", which quantifies the maximum amount of information obtainable with any traditional probing. "Overcoming this limit provides rigorous proof of the effectiveness of quantum physics for measuring delicate objects" concludes Professor Mitchell.

####

About ICFO
ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences was created in 2002 by the government of Catalonia and the Technical University of Catalonia. ICFO is a center of research excellence devoted to the sciences and technologies of light with a triple mission: to conduct frontier research, train the next generation of scientists and technologists, and provide knowledge and technology transfer.

Research at ICFO targets the forefront of science and technology based on light with programs directed at applications in Health, Renewable Energies, Information Technologies, Security and Industrial processes, among others. The center currently hosts more than 250 researchers and PhD students working in more than 60 different laboratories. All research groups and facilities are located in a dedicated 14.000 m2 building situated in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona.

ICFO researchers publish in the most prestigious journals and collaborate with a wide range of companies around the world. The institute actively promotes the creation of spin-off companies by ICFO researchers.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Oficina de Mitjans de Comunicació OMC
+34 93 401 61 43

Copyright © AlphaGalileo

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

Follow us Twitter:

Related News Press

News and information

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal June 23rd, 2016

Physics

Particle zoo in a quantum computer: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena June 23rd, 2016

Researchers refine method for detecting quantum entanglement June 18th, 2016

Laboratories

Titan shines light on high-temperature superconductor pathway: Simulation demonstrates how superconductivity arises in cuprates' pseudogap phase June 22nd, 2016

Discovery of gold nanocluster 'double' hints at other shape-changing particles: New analysis approach brings two unique atomic structures into focus June 19th, 2016

Efficient hydrogen production made easy: Sticking electrons to a semiconductor with hydrazine creates an electrocatalyst June 17th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Particle zoo in a quantum computer: First experimental quantum simulation of particle physics phenomena June 23rd, 2016

New electron microscope method detects atomic-scale magnetism June 22nd, 2016

Tailored DNA shifts electrons into the 'fast lane': DNA nanowire improved by altering sequences June 22nd, 2016

Titan shines light on high-temperature superconductor pathway: Simulation demonstrates how superconductivity arises in cuprates' pseudogap phase June 22nd, 2016

Discoveries

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal June 23rd, 2016

Announcements

Nanotechnology and math deliver two-in-one punch for cancer therapy resistance June 24th, 2016

Researchers discover new chemical sensing technique: Technique allows sharper detail -- and more information -- with near infrared light June 24th, 2016

GraphExeter illuminates bright new future for flexible lighting devices June 23rd, 2016

Soft decoupling of organic molecules on metal June 23rd, 2016

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Marrying superconductors, lasers, and Bose-Einstein condensates: Chapman University Institute for Quantum Studies (IQS) member Yutaka Shikano, Ph.D., recently had research published in Scientific Reports June 20th, 2016

A new trick for controlling emission direction in microlasers June 20th, 2016

A new form of hybrid photodetectors with quantum dots and graphene June 19th, 2016

New approach to microlasers: Technique for 'phase locking' arrays of tiny lasers could lead to terahertz security scanners June 17th, 2016

Quantum nanoscience

CWRU physicists deploy magnetic vortex to control electron spin: Potential technology for quantum computing, keener sensors June 21st, 2016

Neutrons reveal unexpected magnetism in rare-earth alloy June 16th, 2016

Spintronics: Resetting the future of heat assisted magnetic recording June 15th, 2016

NIST's super quantum simulator 'entangles' hundreds of ions June 11th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic