Curated by RSF Research Staff
Quantum weirdness – as given by the Copenhagen interpretation and at odds with reality - is up for testing with a new experiment designed to measure the collapse of a wave function.
The Copenhagen interpretation of the double slit experiment – that is the proposition that light and matter exhibit both particle and wave like properties – is known as wave-particle duality. The mathematics of quantum mechanics therefore represents a particle by a “probability wave” i.e. a weighted distribution of probable possibilities. The Copenhagen interpretation explains this as all particles being in all possible states – a superposition of states – until the moment of observation (measurement) when the wave function is said to collapse into a definite state. How this particle solidifies into the ‘observed’ state is a question yet to be answered.
However, a team led by Andrea Vinante at the University of Southampton may have just seen the first ever hint of the actual moment of collapse. This collapse is not brought about through measurement, but rather by dynamical processes that collapses the wave function without measurement. This idea known as objective collapse has been around since the 70s and predicts a kind of noise that acts on the system as a consequence of the collapse. Vinante and his team investigated this noise by observing the quivering of a metal bead cooled to almost absolute zero and found a limit beyond which the quivering didn’t lessen. Could this be the noise associated with the localization and emergence of definite systems - the collapse noise? Their results were published in a paper last year and have since attracted enough attention that a new experiment has recently been announced to investigate this further. The collaboration, TEsting the large-scale limit of Quantum mechanics (TEQ), includes Vinante and co-author Angelo Bassi from the University of Trieste, Italy, and follows a similar method as their previous experiment, but at a much grander and more sensitive scale.
“Everything emerges from and returns to a fundamental field that connects us all” Nassim Haramein.
If a collapse noise signal is confirmed this would imply realism is right and would have huge implications to our understanding as to the nature of reality and our quest for a solution to quantum gravity. Watch this space!
Amira Val Baker