Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Seeing quantum mechanics with the naked eye

Seeing quantum mechanics with the naked eye: They built microscopic cavities that tightly trap light in the vicinity of electrons within the chip, producing new particles called “polaritons” that weigh very little, encouraging them to move freely...

Injecting them in two laser spots, they found that the resulting quantum fluid spontaneously started oscillating backwards and forwards, in the process forming characteristic quantum pendulum states known to scientists, but at THz frequencies.

The resulting quantum liquid has some peculiar properties, including trying to repel itself. It can also only swirl around in fixed amounts, producing vortices laid out in regular lines. Increasing the number of laser beams creates even more complicated quantum states.

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