Schrödinger's Cat, Caught On Camera

Schrödinger's Cat, Caught on Camera

While quantum mechanics is tough to get your head round, you probably know about Schrödinger's poor old cat: left in a box, both alive and dead at the same time. Well, now there's a picture of the ill-fated feline.

Well, kind of. What you're actually looking at is an image created by quantum weirdness. The image above was created using entangled photons and a cat stencil. The odd bit? The photons used to create the image never went anywhere near the stencil, and the photons that did hit the stencil never went anywhere near the camera. Wait, what? New Scientist explains:

When two separate particles are entangled, measurements of their physical properties are correlated, and they effectively share a single quantum state. To [make this image], the researchers created yellow and red pairs of entangled photons. The yellow photons were fired at the cat stencil, while the red photons were sent to the camera. Thanks to their entanglement, the red photons formed the image of the cat because of the quantum link to their yellow twins. The silicon stencil was transparent to red light and the camera could only detect red light. This demonstrates that the technique can image objects that are invisible to the detected photons.

So, quantum physics never stops seeming weird. But at least now we've found that damn cat. [Nature via New Scientist]

Picture: Gabriela Barreto Lemos

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    "But at least now we’ve found that damn cat."

    We never lost the cat.... it was always in the box.... that's kinda the point...

    Last edited 29/08/14 8:15 am

    but you measured it so you changed the outcome

      Touche. I'd like to know a bit more how they made the entanglement and how they moved these entangled photons to the stencil and the wall. Yes you can entangle a photon but to have millions of entangled photons rearrange themselves into a negative version of the stencil is a bit fishy. That would mean that each photon would have to know where in space it would have to be and I don't think protons do that. Quantum physics isn't my strong point so hopefully someone who's in the know could explain it to me.

      Not quite - You rubbed it against another cat, then put it in the box and watched the other cat very very closely!

    That's the problem with 'thought experiments' - putting thought into them leads to this sort of thing!

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