Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Atom and its quantum mirror image

Atom and its quantum mirror image: The scientists placed atoms very closely to a mirror. In this case, there are two possible paths for any photon travelling to the observer: it could have been emitted directly into the direction of the observer, or it could have travelled into the opposite direction and then been reflected in the mirror. If there is no way of distinguishing between these two scenarios, the motion of the atom is not determined, the atom moves in a superposition of both paths...
The particle and its mirror image cannot be clearly separated any more. The atom moves towards the mirror and away from the mirror at the same time...
In the experiment the two motional states of the atom – one moving towards the mirror and the other moving away from the mirror – are then combined using Bragg diffraction from a grating made of laser light. Observing interference it can be directly shown that the atom has indeed been traveling both paths at once.

No comments:

Post a Comment