A completely new way to measure time has been discovered: what does it mean

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A completely new way to measure time has been discovered: what does it mean

This method does not require an exact starting point for the countdown.

The normal course of time is measured by simply measuring the number of seconds between “then” and “now”. But at the quantum level of electrons, the notion of “then” is not always exactly predictable. But even the concept of “now” dissolves in a fog of uncertainty. And here the usual stopwatch does not fit. Scientists from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, believe they have found a solution to this problem and it is hidden in the quantum fog itself. Swedish scientists have experimented with the wave nature of the Rydberg state and discovered a new way of measuring time that does not require an exact starting point, writes ScienceAlert.

Atoms, a laser, a balloon

Rydberg atoms are a very strongly inflated “balloons”. But they are not inflated with air, but with lasers. Inside these atoms are electrons in very high energy states, and they rotate far from the nucleus of the atom.

Lasers are commonly used to transfer electrons to higher energy states for various purposes. Sometimes a second laser can be used to track changes in the electron's position, including over time. This “zoom-in-probe” method of atoms can be used to measure the speed of some ultra-fast electronic devices.

Putting atoms into the Rydberg state can be used by scientists when it comes to creating new components for quantum computers. Today, physicists already know very well how electrons move when they are transferred to the Rydberg state.

Gambling of electrons

But the movement of electrons at the quantum level is not like the wheels on tiny abacuses, it is more like a roulette wheel in a casino, where every roll and jump of the ball is squeezed into a single gambling game. The set of mathematical rules behind this game is called the Rydberg Wave Packet.

Brand new way discovered time measurements: what does it mean

A completely new way to measure time has been discovered: what does it mean

If you throw enough Rydberg wave packets into the same atomic lake, then each of these unique patterns will represent the specific time it takes for the wave packets to evolve and match each other.

It is these time signatures that Swedish scientists decided to test, who, as a result of experiments, found that these signatures are constant enough to be a form of quantum time stamp.

New time signatures

Scientists have studied the result of the excitation of atoms helium laser and compared them with theoretical predictions to show how their signatures can remain unchanged over a certain period of time.

“For conventional time measurement, you need a reference point, but in this case, you can just look at the interference structure and understand that for example 5 nanoseconds have passed,” says Marta Berholz from the University of Uppsala.

According to scientists, none Signatures do not require the concepts of “then” and “now” to be the starting point for timing or the end point. It may be like comparing an unknown athlete's run with several competitors running at a given speed.

By looking for signatures of Rydberg interfering states in observed atoms, physicists have been able to observe a timestamp for events as fleeting as just 1.7 trillionths of a second.

As Focus already wrote, scientists have discovered a phenomenon in space that contradicts the laws of physics. In particular, this concerns the speed of light.

Of course, it is worth remembering this year's Nobel Prize winners in physics, who, as Focus already wrote, conducted experiments in the field of quantum mechanics and proved that that Einstein was wrong.