Molecules can be in two places at the same time

The quantum mechanics, which is the most mysterious and little-studied section of physics, has repeatedly surprised scientists with new and new properties, little in accordance with the traditional macroscopic world. Exactly where the boundary between him and the quantum worlds is still an unsolved mystery. However, in their recent experiment, physicists finally managed to open the veil of mystery a little and show that even massive molecules can exist in two places at the same time.
The debate about whether it will be possible to move a person to more or less significant distance will one day be relenting. A new discovery showing that not only atoms but also relatively large molecules are able to be in two places at the same time, one step closer to humanity’s long-held dream of conquering large distances in a fraction of a second. The unique discovery was made through the use of a somewhat modernized two-piece experiment, often used in physics, in the study of the properties of photons of light. It was thanks to him that scientists at one time were able to come to the concept of the duality of light, behaving like a particle and a wave at the same time.

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Molecules can be in two places at the same time

It is quite easy to conduct a two-role experiment in practice. First of all, it is necessary to make sure that the light source is directed to the surface, which has two slits carved in it. At the back of a given surface, you need to place another surface on which light will be projected. If the light consisted only of ordinary particles, the pattern on the back surface would be manifested only in the shape and size of crevices. However, the two-bit experiment is so unique that the waves of light begin to suddenly bounce off each other like ripples in the water, creating a kind of tiger pattern on the surface. But the strangest thing about the experiment is that even when the experience is conducted with individual particles of light, it appears the same striped pattern. Somehow these photons do not seem to go the same way, as one would expect, but intersect and mix with each other.

In physics, this phenomenon is called a quantum superposition, which is best illustrated by Schrodinger’s cat. In this thought experiment, the cat hidden in the box is neither alive nor dead but exists in two states at the same time. At the moment the observer opens the box, the superposition collapses in one state or in another. Even more unusual is the fact that if the detectors were installed in the crevices as a tool to measure the path passed by light, the striped patterns would disappear immediately. The blurring of the result is clarified only as soon as it is measured.

However, the phenomenon of superposition seems to be applicable only in the quantum field, because as objects become larger, the duality of light almost completely disappears in the macroscopic world. If so, is there a limit to the size of the same object that is capable of being in two places at the same time without any problems? In order to answer this question, scientists from the universities of Vienna and Basel conducted a double-slit experiment with the largest molecules that have been tested in the history of physics.

The previous record included molecules containing more than 800 atoms, but a team of researchers managed to expand it to 2,000 atoms. Molecules existed in a state of quantum superposition and showed a similar result of the quantum split. Such a result pushes the microscopic boundary closer to our macro-world, while almost completely blurring any line between them.