Quantum entanglement is a distinctive development where two particles become interconnected. Anything you do to one particle has an instant effect on the other regardless of the distance between them, even if one particle is on the Earth and the other is on the moon.
And scientists have successfully been able to link together over 3,000 atoms in this sci-fi- Hollywood-movie-sounding state.
Quantum entanglement is vital because scientists can use it in the creation of atomic clocks that are critical to an accurate GPS. The most sophisticated atomic clocks have an accuracy of one second in 300 million years, and that is what makes it so impressive.
Vladan Vuletic, a physics professor at MIT, said in a press release, that means they “would be less than a minute off if they ran since the Big Bang.”
This new process of quantum entanglement, nevertheless, would create atomic clocks even more accurate than they already are. The GPS navigation could be better improved by this discovery since GPS requires clocks with an accuracy to at least one billionth of a second to prohibit you from being lost.
The finest atomic clocks we have at the moment are grounded on the measurements of spinning atoms. Entangled atoms spin together and keep a steady rhythm, muck like a pendulum, sending laser light pulses across the field of entangled atoms. The laser then processes atom’s vibrations to decipher the length of a second. The more entangled atoms there are to measure, the more precise the clock is.
Physicists can only entangle pairs of particles or atoms, normally. The previous record was only 100 entangled atoms. This new process allows for the entanglement of over 3,000 by utilizing a really weak laser where each laser pulse contained a single light particle.
Weaker light is a much better option since quantum entanglement is such a delicate process. It takes only a small disturbance to ruin the whole system. Past experiments have sent thousands or millions of photons through clouds of atoms at once. A pulse with only one light particle is less likely chance of disrupting the cloud of entangled atoms.
The researchers say it should be pretty straightforward to entangle even more atoms, even millions. Putting it in another perspective, about 500,000 carbon atoms make up the width of a human hair.
The team of researchers is working on a new state-of-the-art atomic clock that could become the new standard of accuracy which could lead to an improved GPS.
The research could also figure out how to beam encrypted quantum messages around the globe, a revolutionary faster way to securely communicate.