Researchers can predict the jumps of Schrodinger’s cat and save it

Schrodinger cat in box
Artistic impression of Schrodinger cat in box, having its near death experience. (Credits - Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers from Yale University have found out a way to catch and save the famous Schrodinger’s cat, by anticipating its moves beforehand and taking necessary actions to save it from its doom. Schrodinger’s cat is the symbol of quantum unpredictability that was designed by Austrian scientist, Erwin Schrödinger in the year 1935. During this entire process, scientists have managed to discard several years of dogma which was present in quantum physics.

Through this discovery, researchers can set up early warning systems for the imminent jumps made by artificial atoms which contain quantum data. The study was published in the Nature journal.

Schrodinger’s cat is a famous paradox which is designed for illustrating the superposition concept. It is the ability of two states which are unpredictable in nature to exist simultaneously. It goes like this, a cat is trapped in a box which is closed tightly. It contains a radioactive source and a poison will be triggered with the decay of a radioactive atom. With the help of quantum physics’ superposition theory we know that the cat will be both alive and dead until the box is opened by someone. By opening the box and thus making an observation, a random change in the quantum state of the cat occurs and it is either living or is dead.

The experiment which has been conducted in the laboratory of Yale professor, Michel Devoret and proposed by Zlatko Minev, the principal author studies for the first time what actually happens in a quantum jump. The results have surprisingly contradicted the view of renowned Danish physicist, Niels Bohr. 

When microscopic entities such as electrons, atoms or artificial atoms having quantum information makes a quantum jump, the transition is sudden. It occurs from one discrete state to another. These jumps were theorized by Niels Bohr about a century ago but they were observed for the first time in atoms in 1980s.

In the experiment, researchers used three microwave generators for monitoring the atom which was enclosed in a 3D aluminium cavity. It allowed the researchers to observe the atom with a very high efficiency. The microwave radiations stir the atom, which makes a jump. The quantum signal of the jump can be amplified without disturbing the room temperature. It helped the scientists to observe a sudden absence of the detection photons which are emitted by the ancillary atomic state, excited by the microwaves. This gave the warning of the jump.

Minev noted the similarity of the jump with that of the volcanic eruption. Both are unpredictable but with correct warning, the advance disaster can be detected and acted on.


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