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.”
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.