Nobel Prize in Physics: Breakthroughs in quantum tech

Source: The post is based on the following articles

“This year’s Nobel winners in Physics provided evidence to suggest that entanglement was not just real, but could also be harnessed for solving problems” published in Indian Express on 6th October 2022.

“Nobel Prize in Physics: Breakthroughs in quantum tech” published in Indian Express on 5th October 2022.

“Nobel for work on ‘click chemistry’ and quantum mechanics” published in The Hindu on 6th October 2022.

What is the News?

Alain Aspect of France, John Clauser of the US, and Anton Zeilinger of Austria have won Nobel Prize in Physics 2022. Their experiments have conclusively established that the ‘entanglement’ phenomenon observed in quantum particles was real, not a result of any ‘hidden’ or unknown forces.

What are the challenges posed by sub-atomic particles?

A few scientists observed that the behaviour of tiny sub-atomic particles like protons or electrons was not consistent with the classical Newtonion laws of physics. A group of mostly young physicists made a series of astonishing discoveries.

Together they strung together the Quantum Theory, which described the bizarre behaviour of sub-atomic particles with remarkable accuracy.

But Quantum Theory went completely against everyday experiences. It allowed a particle to exist simultaneously at multiple locations, a phenomenon known as quantum superposition.

Entanglement was another of several weird properties exhibited by these tiny particles. The seemingly instantaneous communication due to entanglement had the danger of further unravelling the foundations of physics. Einstein proposed that there was something missing, and that Quantum Theory was not yet complete.

Must read: Svante Paabo awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine: Mapping Neanderthal genome
What is quantum entanglement?
Read here: Quantum Entanglement
What are the contributions of Nobel Prize winners?

John Clauser: He was the first to set up an experiment to test entanglement. In 1972, his experiments produced results that were a clear violation of Bell’s inequality. But sceptics pointed to certain aspects of the experiment which could have influenced a favourable result.

Note: John Bell created the mathematical framework that made it possible to test entanglement. Bell’s inequality shows that no theory that satisfies the conditions imposed can reproduce the probabilistic predictions of quantum mechanics under all circumstances. 

Alain Aspect: Alain Aspect is credited with vastly improving the set-up of Clauser and removing all the loopholes critics had found.

Anton Zeilinger: He demonstrated for the first time that it was possible to ‘teleport’ the quantum states of a particle to another location without the particle moving anywhere and without a medium.

Their research has decisively demonstrated that entanglement was real and in accordance with the Quantum Theory.

What are the potential applications of quantum entanglement?

This could be utilised to make transformative technological advances in computing, such as building the next generation of computers, called quantum computers. It can also be used to ensure hack-free communications and the science fiction-like concepts of ‘teleportation’.

Print Friendly and PDF