This astounding find suggests that biological creatures may have adapted quantum mechanics for survival billions of years ago. It also demonstrates that quantum mechanics can prevail over classical physics even at normal temperatures, given that the algae can send energy flowing through several alternate biological paths simultaneously.
"We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy," said Greg Scholes, a chemist at the University of Toronto and lead author on the research published in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
Algae and other plants harvest their daily energy requirements from sunlight. Scholes and his team studied the light-harvesting protein complexes within algae by using laser pulses to mimic absorption of sunlight. They then monitored the energy's movement by using electronic spectroscopy and a stopwatch.
Many different research groups have studied how to harness quantum mechanics for the purpose of creating quantum computers that could prove far more efficient at both information processing and storage, and even Google has gotten in on that action. Now scientists may increasingly turn to the natural world for examples from the emerging field of quantum biology.
Can this "superposition" stuff be used to create instantaneous communication through very long distances? If a particle can be in two places at the same time, it can exist on a space ship several light years away (or maybe several thousand or million miles away--if you want to keep it realistic at this point) and simultaneously in a space flight operations center. If this particle can be manipulated to react on the other side, one can have a basis for fast interstellar communications. With the advances in serial communications technology (USB 3.0), I would guess that high resolution video/audio can be sent through. Even if it can't reach USB 3.0 speeds, Morse code still works, right? It'll still be fast enough for you to log into AOL with a 14.4 kbps modem, I'm betting.
Imagine having one of these in the iPhone. No more clogged networks or reception problems/dropped calls! No more cell towers!
Algae and other plants get harvest their daily energy requirements from sunlight
Too greedy with the verbs :) pick one.
@rpenri What your talking about is quantum entanglement. When you alter the quantum state of one particle, the quantum state of the entangled particle, however far away, we be altered the same way. Unfortunately, this "spooky action at a distance," is not really instantaneous. The information flow between the two particles, although not observable, is limited by the speed of light, so communication would be no faster than radio.
So one particle is in two spots at the same time. Could they just be moving between the two spots faster than we can click a stop watch (figuratively speaking). Or am I missing the point. They would have to travel faster than the speed of light which would enable them to...be faster than the energy. Correct me if I'm wrong please or educate me.
@johnt - that's funny...
joeybobbron is somewhat off on his explination. yes, you could use quantum entanglement for instantaneous communication across galaxies. As soon as you change one set of entangled particles, the matching set, no matter how far away, instantly changes as well. The only problem is, lets say Galaxy B is 200 light years away from Earth, it would take 200 light years to get the receiving unit to galaxy B. Once it finally arrives, however, you would have instant communication between earth and Galaxy B.
superposition is in fact two places at once. The particle is in both the spin up and spin down position at the same time. The tricky part, is once observed the particle is destroyed and the entanglement collapses. And to add on to this, you can only observe either the speed of the particle OR the location, but not both. I'm just a lay reader on the subject, so my explanations may not be the most eloquent.
read the God Effect - its amazing
but wouldn't quantum entanglement be free energy? or in order to move that particle would it take as much energy as moving the particle multiplied by the number of particles in question?@JoeyBobBrown also the Mechanical,heat or which ever energy it is is not traveling at any speed to reach the other version of the particle because isn't the other version already the particle? if it travels in any form than it is inside some other plane of existence that our brains or any computers brains probably will never understand so i don't think there would be any speed limit, no matter the distance it would be instantaneous.
the nickname for quantum entanglement is spooky entanglement, coined by Einstein. So there's superposition, in which a particle is occupying two states at once (spin up and spin down) and then there is quantum entanglement, where two separate particles are entangled. So, lets say we have particle A and particle B that are entangled, and are, say, 10 light years apart. If we measure the superposition of Particle A as spin up, then instantly the spin position of particle B will be down, because distance doesn't play a part - which is why its nickname is spooky! Although upon measurement of particle A, the entanglement will collapse.
@joeybobbrown >"Unfortunately, this "spooky action at a distance," is not really instantaneous. The information flow between the two particles, although not observable, is limited by the speed of light, so communication would be no faster than radio."
There has been at least one experiment to measure the speed of action for "strange action (or spooky action) at a distance." The lower bound for the speed is 10,000 times faster than the speed of light in a vacuum. See Salart, D, et al. Nature 454, 861-864 (14 August 2008) "Testing spooky action at a distance"
You could not use this for communication.
Yes, by measuring the state of your entangled qubit, the other person would instantly have a correlated qubit.
However, you cannot control what the output of your qubit will be. You only know the probabilities that it will be in one of two states.
|v> = 1/sqrt(2) |00> + 1/sqrt(2) |11>,
then upon measurement of your qubit there's a 1/2 probability that both of your qubits will be 0, and 1/2 probability that both of your qubits will be 1.
Therefore this cannot be used for "communication"
I think that this is a phenomenon we just do not know enough about and have just scatched the surface in our knowledge on how it works. Quantum etangement and superposition may be the same thing we just cannot see it yet. What looks like two particles could actually be one particle in a different state when it is measured. If you take one particle with two states and transpose these states outside of spacetime; within the spacetime reference point at which they are measured they seem to coexist when in reality they do not. Depending at which point in transposition they are veiwed by our instruments(in spacetime) they could appear to be in either state or show superposition. Being that the tranposition of states occurs outside of spacetime(another dimension??) the speed of light law will not apply thus almost instant communication. The resonance frequencies that we postuate by string theory for each type of matter could be driving force in the oscillations between these two state of matter we see in our observations thus will be the determining factor on how fast these alternating states can occur. My guess is these frequencies somehow also limit the speed of light. This could get us closer to a unified field theory. Just an observation. I am no physicist don't claim to be. Just a bit of fun thinking.
And this explanation of superposition is incorrect.
A particle exhibiting superposition does not exist in two places at once.
Rather, A particle exhibiting superposition exists in several states at once.
I.e. If a tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it, did it make a sound?
The answer is both yes and no. It both did and did not make a sound. There is a probability that upon listening to it, it made a sound, and a probability that upon listening to it, it did not make a sound.
But until the act of listening happens, the object is a superposition of the states of made a sound and didn't make a sound.
Hope this helped some of your understandings. It has nothing to do with different places in the universe.
I am not sure I understand your postulate, orangebloodedal.
Superposition applies to a single unmeasured particle, whereas quantum entanglement applies to two separate, visible particles.
Take one oscillation. At the peak it at one state. During the slope it is actually in a superposition state. At the end of the oscillation it in the other state. The transition or slope is outside of spacetime and thus cannot be observed thus we call it superposition.
Taking one oscillation in x, at one peak, it is at x = 1, say.
At the other min peak, it is at x = -1, say.
In between, it is at one state, x = 0.5, say. This is not a superposition of x = 1 and x = -1.
We cannot define the shape of the curve that defines its transition since it exists outside our normal spacetime during this phase of existence. The particle could end up at its original state. We cannot say it follows a sine curvature. Thus it never has a .5 state as you call it. As far as we know it may not even exist at this point but may exist only in the form of information until it once again appears in our spacetime where we can observe it.
Let me put it in simple terms. A tree in the forest could be the +1 or -1 state of matter. It fell. The matter ceases to exist in space time. Did it change states??? Cannot observe so it has superposition. Reappears in spacetime. Looks like no time has elapsed in observation. Could reappear as +1 or -1 state. Thus particle has both properties of superposition and quantum entanglement.
I may be wrong about he matter moving out of spacetime. It may not be the matter itself that ceases to exist in spacetime but the state of the matter or the information that defines the state of matter that we can observe.
How does that exhibit quantum entanglement?
In the way you put it, it does exhibit superposition, as I stated earlier.
Quantum entanglement refers to two separate, simultaneously coexisting particles exhibiting coordinated states despite the physical distance between them.
"So one particle is in two spots at the same time. Could they just be moving between the two spots faster than we can click a stop watch (figuratively speaking). Or am I missing the point."
Yes, you're missing the point.
If you have classical waves and pass them through a slit they will spread out. If you have two slits the wave will spread out and also interfere, so that at a detector some way from the slits you get a regular pattern of constructive and destructive interference.
If you take something which is ostensibly not a wave at all, like c-60 molecules(fullerenes), and fire them at sufficiently narrow slits, what you get is exactly the same thing. Classically you'd expect that the pattern on the detector would be just the sum of the patterns from each slit but that's not at all what you get. Somehow the particle "knows" about both slits even though if it is a classical particle it can only pass through one of them, and it somehow "knows" to modify it's chances of landing in some place on the screen as if really were a wave that passed through both slits and constructively or destructively interfered.
If particles are really like classical particles with definite position and momentum and no wavelike characteristics then this is a really inexplicable result.
Even worse. If electrons were classical particles they'd just emit a bunch of bremsstralung x-rays and go sit directly ontop of a proton; they wouldn't have quantized energy levels and they wouldn't pair up with opposite spins and fill each energy level they'd all just pile into the lowest energy level(which is sitting directly ontop of a proton for a classical electron).
"oeybobbron is somewhat off on his explination. yes, you could use quantum entanglement for instantaneous communication across galaxies."
You cannot communicate any information _at all_ using quantum entanglement, not even at sub-light speeds.
"As soon as you change one set of entangled particles, the matching set, no matter how far away, instantly changes as well."
A classical analogy for quantum entanglement is this: assume I have two cards, one red and one blue, I put each one in an envelope and then give you one of the envelopes at random and retain the other one.
If I look in my envelope I will instantly know the colour of your card. If my card was red, your card must be blue and vice versa.
With two quantum entangled particles of opposite spin, as soon as I check my particle the wavefunction collapses and your particle must have the opposite spin. Since the spin I observe in my particle is _random_, I cannot choose some spin and have your particle on the other side of the galaxy come up with the opposite spin. You cannot use quantum entanglement to transmit any information whatsoever.
This is what I am saying. There is actually only one particle of matter. Because of the extra dimension factor that exists and our limited physical existence in spacetime we will observe these two states a singe particle as an entanglement and two different particles; when in actuality they are the same particle in two different states. The distance observed does not matter. What happens outside our observable universe(spacetime) is a mystery and if different states end up on different sides of the galaxy in our physical universe so be it.
Time always screws up our calculations. Time is only a relative measure to a standard. There is only now and this now is only way we can observe our universe.If we could measure everything simultaneously at the same point in existence we may have more understanding of what we are seeing. Even the best instuments cannot be made to observe at the exact same instance in existence there will always be a variance,no matter how small between the two observations. This variance will always skew the real truth of any meaurements that figure time in as a factor. Think out of the box. The box is too little to contain the knowlege of the universe.
These things are funny.
I bet if someone looked in the right places you'd find the human body using quantum mechanics all the time as well. I've read articles on the idea that our brain is a super quantum computer, sending information through many pathways at once, and collapsing on the most efficient one - there are still many parts of the brain that have huge effects on thought that we have almost no idea of how they work like all the different types of glial cells. I also read an interesting book "The Biology of Belief" by Bruce Lipton, and he has a pretty extensive explanation of how the health of the human body is dependent on the principles of quantum physics.
Its important to remember, although we are large animals and cannot view the effects of quantum physics on our scale, our bodies consist of billions of tiny microscopic cells, which is the perfect environment to take advantage of quantum principles.
Oh and just to clarify about earlier, a falling tree has little to do with quantum physics. If a tree falls in the woods, it most definitely will cause a physical disruption of the particles around it, sending a wave of vibrations through the air. The vibration will be perceived as sound if something is listening.
One of the trickiest ideas of quantum physics is that particles can be in multiple states until they are "observed or measured" - but what constitutes an observation? It seems any particle that could be effected by a given event could be treated as an observer. (so even if there was a question as to whether or not the tree will make a sound, the environment will be there to collapse the probabilities and observe the sounds)
You physics types get all wrapped up in the small points trying to prove your superior ego, and miss the whole picture.
As we gain new tools, as in this superposition THEORY, we apply it to nature, and discover similar patterns (i.e. validation).
As in any THEORY, superposition will be replaced by a shiny-new theory in time. And our view of the world will change again. Keep it humble.
Subspace communication....using subspace to communicate and or travel over large distances like in Star Trek. The only problem is, we have to find if it exists first, lol. Everything from Star Trek is starting to become a reality. Force fields, transporters, warp drive, phasers, and especially tri-corders. Some of this stuff will take longer than others, but we do have forms of phasers, and tri-corders, just perhaps not as advanced and much bigger. We may be only able to transport one molecule a very short distance, but give it another 200 years....too bad most of us won't be around to see it, or will we....Don't forget the inventor of the cell phone got his idea from the original star trek series with William Shatner.
I had to laugh.
Superposition is not a theory. It is a principle.
It is the Principle of Superposition.
We see superposition every day when we create interfering sound waves, mechanical waves, etc.
Any wave can exhibit superposition.
And we cannot even transport molecules over a short distance. Classical teleportation is prohibited, at least through quantum mechanics.
#1. It is not at all surprising that algae (or any other life form) is taking advantage of all its resources to utilize the sun's energy (or any other form of energy). Thank you bdhoro87.
#2. The superstructure of ideas always precedes technological advancement, and the imagination is unbound by conceptual boxes of the present moment. Thus it is also not surprising that Star Trek technologies are coming to fruition. Thank you Cookiees453.
#3. Now I understand (with this discussion of quantum entanglement etc.) why at summer solstice 1999, whilst I was in my tent in the wilds of Lubec Maine after a week of self-imposed isolation, I felt a benevolent presence in my tent at 4 in the morning, only to discover two days later that at that very moment my mom had been feeling concern for me from Gloucester Mass (500km away) and had gotten up at 4am and sent protective love in my direction "across the miles". I believe it reached me instantaneously (and I am of a scientific mind so it has always irked me to think this).
#4 Anyone know anything about tidal resonance in say Cook Inlet Alaska and its bearing on the algae and their potential dependence upon it?
Could it be possible that twin humans form some quantum entanglements when developing? i remember reading about studies where twins showed some forms of ESP like connections. if algae can do it, maybe humans can too, but we just arent aware of it?
so according to this discussion, you cannot transmit any information using the entanglement because of the randomness of the particles. but, since the transfer is instantaneous, could we use the time between the information as the media for communication? almost like a high-tech morse code system.