Scientists just separated two entangled particles by a record 1,200 kilometers. Here’s what that actually means.
Scientists have managed to separate a pair of entangled particles by a distance of 1,200 km, more than 10 times longer than the previous record.
Chinese scientists used a satellite nicknamed Micius, which was launched to test out quantum physics like this, to create a pair of entangled photons – essentially, particles of light that are linked together – in space, and send them back down to different points on Earth. They’ve published their results in the journal Science today.
“It’s a remarkable and beautiful experiment,” Jacob Dunningham, a professor of physics at the University of Sussex, told BuzzFeed News, adding that it was a “huge leap” towards extending entanglement to global scales.
“It represents a major step forward in quantum technology,” he said.
But we don’t blame you if you don’t quite know what quantum entanglement is…so we’ve brought in reinforcements to explain it.
Physics behaves differently at very small scales from how it does at scales we’re used to. We call the laws that describe this behavior quantum mechanics.
One thing you need to know about quantum mechanics is that instead of behaving in a normal, sensible way, matter behaves like a particle and like a wave.
The other thing you need to know about quantum mechanics is that you should say goodbye to certainty. Because a particle is acting like a wave, we can’t know for sure where it is…