‘Hot and messy’ entanglement of 15 trillion atoms

When dealing with entanglement, current quantum technologies isolate the systems they work with and operate at temperatures close to absolute zero.

In a recent experiment, the ICFO team, in contrast, heated a collection of atoms to 450 Kelvin. Moreover, the individual atoms were anything but isolated so they collided with each other every few microseconds, and each collision set their electrons spinning in random directions.

The researchers used a laser to monitor the magnetization of this hot, chaotic gas. The magnetization is caused by the spinning electrons in the atoms, and provides a way to study the effect of the collisions and to detect entanglement.

What the researchers observed was an enormous number of entangled atoms—about 100 times more than ever before observed. 

They also saw that the entanglement is non-local—it involves atoms that are not close to each other. Between any two entangled atoms there are thousands of other atoms, many of which are entangled with still other atoms, in a giant, hot and messy entangled state. (ICFO)

The paper has been published in Nature Communications.

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