Quantum entanglement of 3,000 atoms could actually lead to the most-precise atomic clock ever, according to new research.

Quantum entanglement isn’t exactly something the average person thinks of when they look at their wall clock or observe the time on their iPhone. However, physicists have developed a new method that could prove to give an even more precise account of what time it is, at any given moment. The team, using one photon has finally been able to entangle 3,000 atoms – which is something that isn’t only record breaking, but something that has previously been seen as impossible, or nearly impossible, by many in the physics world.

The research took place at MIT, and Vladan Vuletic, the Lester Wolfe Professor at the University, pointed out that this was something that previously didn’t seem possible. He said, “We have opened up a new class of entangled states we can make, but there are many more new classes to be explored.” Those were strong words to assign to something that was previously seen as not possible.

He had earlier pointed out that, “You can make the argument that a single photon cannot possibly change the state of 3,000 atoms, but this one photon does – it builds up correlations that you didn’t have before,” but at the end of the day – they managed to do just that. While entanglement isn’t something that the average science observer will know much about, it essentially is the process by which two particles simultaneously change in the same way – at the same moment.

The team pointed out that the goal would ultimately be to create the most-precise clock that has ever existed. We have some great atomic clocks out there today, but the real victory would be achieving an even more precise clock by using this quantum entanglement theory – which Einstein frequently referred to as “spooky science.” The team points out that the clocks we have today are so precise that they would run just a minute off – if they ran since the origin of the big bang. That’s saying something, when we’re talking about billions and billions of years.

However, the goal now becomes realistically making those clocks even more precise and cutting in under a minute off from the origin of the big bang. Thusly, creating one of the rarest spectacles and advances that have ever been found to date.


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