Unless you are a quantum physicist, your immediate connotation for the phrase "action at a distance" might not conjure images of particle interaction.
Thanks to new efforts by the SETI Institute out of Mountain View, California, you can now see a picture of what Einstein famously called "spooky action at a distance."
The fundamental concept of action at a distance underpins not just quantum theory, but nature itself, and simply presents the very real capability of an object to be altered, mobilized or otherwise affected by another object without the aid of physical or mechanical contact.
Though it may all sound very sci-fi and unrealistic at first, Einstein's "spooky" label referred to his amazement at the seemingly instantaneous manner in which this action can take place between two particles, no matter how great the local distance between them.
Scientists have captured the first ever image of a phenomenon Albert Einstein described as "spooky action at a distance". Photo shows a strong form of quantum entanglement, where two particles interact and share physical states for an instant. @BBCNews https://t.co/qP3aeo0Q5g pic.twitter.com/UtxGCzG8jG— The SETI Institute (@SETIInstitute) July 13, 2019
Also known as quantum entanglement, or Bell entanglement after the physicist who laid the most groundwork for its early properties and uses, this type of physics underlays a vast deal of our modern encryption and quantum computing.
Utilizing a system that shot a string of entangled photons from an origin point of quantum light at various objects, a team of physicists from Glasgow has given us a gargantuan step forward in our understanding of particle entanglement.
The phenomenon was visually displayed on materials in a liquid-crystal state, which changes the phase of the photons while they are traveling through and resulted in this scientifically-invaluable image.
The applications made possible by understanding this remarkable SETI image exceed description. In the worlds of 5G and beyond, it can eventually mean totally unbreakable encryption and new ways of imaging previously unheard of.
Einstein and Bell surely must nod their approval from their quantum distance.