Scientists from the MIT and University of Vienna, among others, came up last year with robust evidence for quantum entanglement, that quantum physics principle that says that two particles, regardless of how far they are situated one from the other, are linked in such a manner that the classic physics principles are not applicable anymore. Now, a new study issued in Physical Review Letters explored the quantum entanglement in pairs of photons from ancient quasars light.
The new research was carried out by a team of scientists from the MIT, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Harvey Mudd College, the University of California at San Diego, and the University of Vienna. The scientists examined the quantum entanglement in two distant quasars, one of about 8 billion years old and another which emitted its light 12.2 billion years ago.
“The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, so any alternative mechanism, different from quantum mechanics, that might have produced our results by exploiting this loophole would’ve had to be in place long before even there was a planet Earth, let alone an MIT,” said David Kaiser from the MIT.
Quantum entanglement confirmed in ancient quasars light
As David Kaiser recalls, the team of scientists gathered at the Canary Islands and began collecting data from the two ancient quasars using the William Herschel Telescope and the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, both 4-meter-wide telescopes, located on the island at 1 kilometer apart.
One telescope aimed towards the 8 billion years old quasar, while the other instrument focused on the 12.2 billion years old one. In the meantime, a group of scientists at a facility right found right in the middle between the two telescopes sent pairs of entangled photons towards the two telescopes.
In a matter of fractions of a second, before each pair of entangled photons reached the receptor, the instruments examined whether a single photon coming from the quasars is red or blue. Eventually, this particular measurement made possible the calibration of a polarizer that managed to receive entangled photons coming from the quasars.
The researchers discovered correlations between 30,000 pairs of photons from the quasars’ light, confirming quantum entanglement.
“We are very pleased that we were able to address this particular loophole so dramatically. Our experiment with ancient quasars puts extremely tight constraints on various alternatives to quantum mechanics. As strange as quantum mechanics may seem, it continues to match every experimental test we can devise,” concluded David Kaiser.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.