Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

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

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

ATTOPSEMI Technology Joins FDXcelerator Program to Deliver Advanced Non-Volatile Memory IP to GLOBALFOUNDRIES 22 FDX® Technology Platform: Leading-edge I-fuse™ brings higher reliability, smaller cell size and ease of programmability for consumer, automotive, and IoT applications March 27th, 2017

Leti and HORIBA Scientific to Host Webinar on Ultrafast Characterization Tool: Plasma Profiling Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer Tool Cuts Optimization Time In Layer Deposition and Fabrication of Wide Range of Applications March 27th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Laboratories

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Physics

Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms: In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport February 20th, 2017

Research reveals novel quantum state in strange insulating materials February 14th, 2017

Sorting machine for atoms:Researchers at the University of Bonn clear a further hurdle on the path to creating quantum computers February 10th, 2017

The shape of melting in two dimensions: University of Michigan team uses Titan to explore fundamental phase transitions February 2nd, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods March 25th, 2017

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen March 24th, 2017

Discoveries

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

A big leap toward tinier lines: Self-assembly technique could lead to long-awaited, simple method for making smaller microchip patterns March 27th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Researchers make flexible glass for tiny medical devices: Glass can bend over and over again on a nanoscale March 27th, 2017

Announcements

Information storage with a nanoscale twist: Discovery of a novel rotational force inside magnetic vortices makes it easier to design ultrahigh capacity disk drives March 28th, 2017

ATTOPSEMI Technology Joins FDXcelerator Program to Deliver Advanced Non-Volatile Memory IP to GLOBALFOUNDRIES 22 FDX® Technology Platform: Leading-edge I-fuse™ brings higher reliability, smaller cell size and ease of programmability for consumer, automotive, and IoT applications March 27th, 2017

Leti and HORIBA Scientific to Host Webinar on Ultrafast Characterization Tool: Plasma Profiling Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer Tool Cuts Optimization Time In Layer Deposition and Fabrication of Wide Range of Applications March 27th, 2017

Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm: Microstructures create temporary pores in cells March 27th, 2017

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Electro-optical switch transmits data at record-low temperatures: Operating at temperatures near absolute zero, switch could enable significantly faster data processing with lower power consumption March 20th, 2017

AIM Photonics Welcomes Coventor as Newest Member: US-Backed Initiative Taps Process Modeling Specialist to Enable Manufacturing of High-Yield, High-Performance Integrated Photonic Designs March 16th, 2017

Optical fingerprint can reveal pollutants in the air: Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have proposed a new, sophisticated method of detecting molecules with sensors based on ultra-thin nanomaterials March 15th, 2017

MIPT physicists predict the existence of unusual optical composites March 10th, 2017

Quantum nanoscience

The speed limit for intra-chip communications in microprocessors of the future January 23rd, 2017

First experimental proof of a 70 year old physics theory: First observation of magnetic phase transition in 2-D materials, as predicted by the Nobel winner Onsager in 1943 January 6th, 2017

Quantum simulation technique yields topological soliton state in SSH model January 3rd, 2017

Diamonds are technologists' best friends: Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University have grown needle- and thread-like diamonds and studied their useful properties December 30th, 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