Skip to comments.Can we detect quantum behavior in viruses?
Posted on 03/11/2010 7:21:37 AM PST by decimon
The weird world of quantum mechanics describes the strange, often contradictory, behaviour of small inanimate objects such as atoms. Researchers have now started looking for ways to detect quantum properties in more complex and larger entities, possibly even living organisms.
A German-Spanish research group, split between the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching and the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), is using the principles of an iconic quantum mechanics thought experiment - Schrödinger's superpositioned cat to test for quantum properties in objects composed of as many as one billion atoms, possibly including the flu virus.
New research published today, Thursday 11 March, in New Journal of Physics (co-owned by the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society), describes the construction of an experiment to test for superposition states in these larger objects.
Quantum optics is a field well-rehearsed in the process of detecting quantum properties in single atoms and some small molecules but the scale that these researchers wish to work at is unprecedented.
When physicists try to fathom exactly how the tiniest constituents of matter and energy behave, confusing patterns of their ability to do two things at once (referred to as being in a superposition state), and of their 'spooky' connection (referred to as entanglement) to their physically distant sub-atomic brethren, emerge.
It is the ability of these tiny objects to do two things at once that Oriol Romero-Isart and his co-workers are preparing to probe.
With this new technique, the researchers suggest that viruses are one type of object that could be probed. Albeit speculatively, the researchers hope that their technique might offer a route to experimentally address questions such as the role of life and consciousness in quantum mechanics.
In order to test for superposition states, the experiment involves finely tuning lasers to capture larger objects such as viruses in an 'optical cavity' (a very tiny space), another laser to slow the object down (and put it into what quantum mechanics call a 'ground state') and then adding a photon (the basic element of light) in a specific quantum state to the laser to provoke it into a superposition.
The researchers say, "We hope that this system, apart from providing new quantum technology, will allow us to test quantum mechanics at larger scales, by preparing macroscopic superpositions of objects at the nano and micro scale. This could then enable us to use more complex microorganisms, and thus test the quantum superposition principle with living organisms by performing quantum optics experiments with them."
The article will be permanently free to read from Thursday 11 March at http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/12/3/033015
Walk the Planck ping.
My wife’s cat is getting antsy...
Preparing viruses to infect future quantum computers?
This would be pretty interesting to work on.
It's piece work.
For anyone interested in the strange workings of quantum mechanics, here are links to a perhaps a bit 'dry' at first but soon fascinating 2-part interview. It's done in such a way as to be easily comprehensible to anyone slightly familiar with the subject:
Program: Science and the Written Word:
A regular series produced by CUNY-TV [City University of New York] featuring interviews with
authors of new books on science. Hosted by Lou Massa, professor of
chemistry and physics at Hunter College/CUNY.
Guest: Lothar Schafer
Professor of Physical Chemistry , University of Arkansas
In this 2-part interview, Lothar Schafer talks about his book In
Search of Divine Reality. The tries to make connections among
science, religion, and the arts.
Part-1(an audio link will be found on the page that comes up)
Taped: 11/08/1999 Running Time: 0:27min.
Part-2(an audio link will be found on the page that comes up)
Taped: 11/08/1999 Running Time: 0:27min.
Seriously? lolololololol....Someone was not thinking when they came up with that.
CUNY = City University of New York
Obummer is which viral quantum particle :
[Choose your best answer]
a. a virus
b. a Barry-on quark lepton
c. an infirm Fermion with a half-ast spin
d. has no charm,
e. up is down
f. really strange
g. his bottom is his top
h. a muon moron
j. a Tachyon with an imaginary brain
k. thinks a boson is a sailor
l. a glueball
m. a Polariton polarizing the USA
n. Magnon the Magnificent
o. a plekton [brain full of plankton]
p. a WIMP [(weakly interacting massive pinhead]
q. a po-moron, an elastic scatterbrain
r. a skyrmoron, a pie-on-the eye idiot
s. a gallstone boson, a massless excitation of a field
that has been spontaneously broken, a broken choral
t.an instanton, a local minimum of action.
u. a dyon, a hypothetical birth certificate
v. a geon, a wave of the future which is held together in a
confined brain region by the gravitational attraction of
its own field energy. [Stuck on Himself]
w. an inflaton,the generic name for an unidentified scalar
sap responsible for the cosmic inflation and recession.
x. a spurion, inserted into an spin-violating
decay in order to analyze it as though it conserved
y. a luxon - travels in luxury at the speed of light and
doesnt` give a darn about the masses but is banned
from the Luxor.
z. a tardyon- always a year late creating PHONEY SAVED
jobs, but travels everywhere and has a 20%
0bama is a proponent of the Grand Unified Theory of statism, which holds that all matter (including people) consists of tiny strings which must be made to vibrate in sympathy with the Great Teleprompter. The GT is allowed to hold superpositions (”I respect the free market,” and “I want to socialize everything”), but the strings must resonate in perfect unison with its latest pronouncement. Certain strings (down strings) must convey “taxons” to the GT, while others (up strings) absorb taxons and convert them into useless energy, in keeping with the Second Law of Statism.
Ya. It’s just poorly named.
great! LOL! I ain`t stringin` along with that stringbean no way no how.
The everday world IS the weird world of quantum mechanics, starting with the quantized properties of matter, such as water, for example. Then there are solid state properties, as consider metals. What is weirder than aluminum foil? Its "conduction bands" are macroscopic quantum states. Then there is the Mossbauer effect. A little more arcane, but a natural phenomenon which involves the "zero phonon" line, where an entire crystal absorbs the momentum of a nuclear decay of an atom without any vibration. This is definitely "spooky action at a distance", no question, as all the atoms mysteriously "cooperate".
Well, I do know what they mean in this case, but I think the mystification of "the quantum world" is misleading. Is consciousness a quantum phenomenon? Of course! The whole world as it evolves moment to moment is a quantum phenomenon.