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Wave function directly measured

Canadian team achieves quantum feat that makes the intangible a little more tangible

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4:51pm, June 8, 2011

The fuzzy quantum shape that describes the speed or location of a single particle, its wave function, has now been directly measured in the laboratory, giving this mathematical concept a small dose of reality.

Like a bubble on the breeze, the wave function usually disappears when poked or prodded for information. But scientists in Canada have worked out a gentler way to touch it, they report June 9 in Nature.  

“Measuring the wave function itself is not really thought to be a possible thing,” says Stanford physicist Onur Hosten. “It’s not really thought to be something physical.”

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