Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can we detect quantum behavior in viruses?

Date:
March 11, 2010
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
Scientists are using the principles of an iconic quantum mechanics thought experiment -- Schrödinger's superpositioned cat -- to test for quantum properties in objects composed of as many as one billion atoms, possibly including the flu virus.

The weird world of quantum mechanics describes the strange, often contradictory, behaviour of small inanimate objects such as atoms. Researchers have now started looking for ways to detect quantum properties in more complex and larger entities, possibly even living organisms.

A German-Spanish research group, split between the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching and the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), is using the principles of an iconic quantum mechanics thought experiment -- Schrödinger's superpositioned cat -- to test for quantum properties in objects composed of as many as one billion atoms, possibly including the flu virus.

New research published on March 11 in New Journal of Physics describes the construction of an experiment to test for superposition states in these larger objects.

Quantum optics is a field well-rehearsed in the process of detecting quantum properties in single atoms and some small molecules but the scale that these researchers wish to work at is unprecedented.

When physicists try to fathom exactly how the tiniest constituents of matter and energy behave, confusing patterns of their ability to do two things at once (referred to as being in a superposition state), and of their 'spooky' connection (referred to as entanglement) to their physically distant sub-atomic brethren, emerge.

It is the ability of these tiny objects to do two things at once that Oriol Romero-Isart and his co-workers are preparing to probe.

With this new technique, the researchers suggest that viruses are one type of object that could be probed. Albeit speculatively, the researchers hope that their technique might offer a route to experimentally address questions such as the role of life and consciousness in quantum mechanics.

In order to test for superposition states, the experiment involves finely tuning lasers to capture larger objects such as viruses in an 'optical cavity' (a very tiny space), another laser to slow the object down (and put it into what quantum mechanics call a 'ground state') and then adding a photon (the basic element of light) in a specific quantum state to the laser to provoke it into a superposition

The researchers say, "We hope that this system, apart from providing new quantum technology, will allow us to test quantum mechanics at larger scales, by preparing macroscopic superpositions of objects at the nano and micro scale. This could then enable us to use more complex microorganisms, and thus test the quantum superposition principle with living organisms by performing quantum optics experiments with them."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Oriol Romero-Isart et al. Toward quantum superposition of living organisms. New Journal of Physics, 12 (2010) 033015) DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/12/3/033015

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Can we detect quantum behavior in viruses?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311092429.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2010, March 11). Can we detect quantum behavior in viruses?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311092429.htm
Institute of Physics. "Can we detect quantum behavior in viruses?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311092429.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) — The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) — The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) — President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) — Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins