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Physicists can finally take a look at Schrodinger's cat without killing it forever



There could be a chance to reach a climax in Schrödinger's Cat – the famous cat-based thought experiment that describes the mysterious behavior of subatomic particles – without permanently killing the (hypothetical) animal.

The unfortunate imaginary cat lives and lives dead in a box, or exists in a superposition of "dead" and "living" states just as subatomic particles coexist in a superposition of many states. However, a look into the box changes the condition of the cat, which then either alive or dead.

However, a study published in the New Journal of Physics published on October 1, describes a way to possibly view the cat without forcing it to die or die. In this way, scientists' understanding of one of the most fundamental paradoxes in physics is promoted.

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In our ordinary, large-scale world, viewing an object does not seem to change it. But increase enough and that is not the case.

"We usually believe that the price we pay for searching is nothing," said study leader Holger F. Hofmann, associate professor of physics at Hiroshima University in Japan. "That's not right. To look, you have to have light, and light changes the object." This is because even a single photon of light transmits energy from or to the object you are looking at.

Hofmann and Kartik Patekar, then a visiting student at Hiroshima University and now at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, wondered if there was a way to look without paying the price. They landed on a mathematical framework that separates the initial interaction (looking at the cat) from the ad (knowing if it is alive or dead).

"Our main motivation was to look very closely at the way a quantum measurement takes place," said Hofmann. "And the key point is that we separate the measurement in two steps."

In this way, Hoffman and Patekar can assume that all photons involved in the initial interaction, or looking at the cat, are captured without losing information about the condition of the cat , So before reading out there is still everything available to know about the condition of the cat (and how it has changed the way it looks). Only when we read the information, we lose part of it.

"It is interesting that when reading one of the two types of information is selected and the other is completely deleted," said Hofmann.

This is how they described their work on Schrödinger's cat. Suppose the cat is still in the box, but instead of looking inward to see if the cat is alive or dead, place a camera outside the box, which can somehow take a picture in the box (for the thought experiment ). Ignore the fact that physical cameras do not work that way. Once the picture is taken, the camera has two types of information: how did the cat change as a result of the shot (what researchers call a quantum day), and whether the cat lives or is dead after the interaction? None of this information has been lost until now. And depending on how you "develop" the image, you get some information.

Think of a [MünchnerMünchurf Hofmann told Live Science. You can choose whether a coin has been thrown or whether it is currently the head or the number. But you can not know both. What's more, if you know how a quantum system was changed, and if that change is reversible, it is possible to restore its initial state. (For the coin, you would throw it back.)

"You must always disturb the system first, but sometimes you can undo it," Hofmann said. In terms of the cat, that would mean taking a picture, but instead of developing it to see the cat clearly, to develop it so that the cat returns to the state of lifeless limbo.

Crucial The choice of display involves a compromise between the resolution of the measurement and its distortion, which are exactly the same as the paper shows. The resolution refers to how much information is extracted from the quantum system, and the perturbation refers to how much the system is irreversibly altered. In other words, the more you know about the current state of the cat, the more you have irretrievably changed it.

"What I found surprising is that the ability to reverse the disorder is directly related to how much information you get about the observable size or the physical size that they measure," Hofmann said. "Mathematics is pretty accurate here."

Although earlier work pointed to a compromise between resolution and perturbation in a quantum measurement, this paper is the first to quantify the exact relationship, said Michael Hall, a theoretical physicist at the Australian National University, Live Science in an email with.

"As far as I know, no previous results have the form of exact equality in terms of resolution and perturbation," said Hall, who was not involved in the study. "This makes the approach in the newspaper very neat."

Originally published on Live Science .


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