April 22, 2024

Schrödinger’s cat now weighs 16 micrograms

Weighing 16 micrograms, the sapphire crystal is the largest object ever found in a quantum mechanical superposition of two vibrational states. A team led by Matteo Fadel of ETH Zurich stimulated the crystal to vibrate, causing the atoms to rock back and forth — in what’s known as superposition, oscillating in opposite directions at the same time. As reported by the working group in «Science», This case is consistent with the thought experiment of Schrödinger’s cat, which is both alive and dead at the same time depending on the decay of an atom that destroys a toxic vial. Macroscopic “cat states” are meant to help understand how and why the laws of the quantum world fit into the rules of classical physics for larger objects.