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Spooky quantum connection quantified for multiple particles

‘Entanglement entropy’ measurements provide clues to properties of complicated systems

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1:00pm, December 2, 2015
rubidium atoms

EVERYWHERE ENTANGLEMENT  Each green dot in this cloud is a rubidium atom. Harvard physicists isolated sets of four atoms and measured the degree of entanglement between the atoms.

A first-of-its-kind measurement has quantified a mysterious quantum bond shared by several particles rather than just two. The experiment, reported in the Dec. 3 Nature, brings physicists closer to understanding the true scope of this link, known as quantum entanglement.

Entanglement interweaves particles’ fates so that some of each particle’s properties, which are inherently uncertain according to quantum mechanics, are tied to those of its partners. Each particle essentially sacrifices its individuality to become part of an umbrella entangled state. While physicists have developed reliable methods for detecting entanglement between pairs of particles, the measurements get tricky when three or more particles are involved.

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