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How Big Can the Quantum World Be?
Physicists Probe the Limits

Quanta Magazine August 2021

How large can an object be and still act like a quantum wave? In theory, any size at all.

This article was written by Philip Ball (of Beyond Weird). Quantum Mechanics does not predict a boundary where the quantum world crosses over into the classical physical objective world. Many quantum physicists still believe that such a boundary exists, and they are busy looking for it. Techniques are already so advanced that they can hold nanoparticles of around 100 nanometers (0.1 μm) in a precisely defined spot without disrupting their quantum state. The next step is to bring those nanoparticles into quantum superposition. It is in a wave state then and it can be studied in principle by the interference that those waves exhibit. If interference is detected – as happens when they would pass through a double slit – that means that the nanoparticles are not ‘collapsed’ and are still existing in their quantum state.

Those 100 nm nanoparticles are so big that gravity starts to play a role and could be the cause of their quantum collapse as Penrose proposed. Therefore, this could be a way to explore where the two great theories – Einstein’s gravitational theory and quantum mechanics – meet and what happens iif they do.

The researchers – and Ball too – still adhere to the decoherence hypothesis. A hypothesis that, in my opinion, is untenable because a macro object like a double slit or a crystal lattice never causes decoherence. Otherwise you would never see interference fringes. Such choosy inconsistent behavior falsifies decoherence, however popular.

The size of 100 nanometers is already in the range of the size of viruses – usually between 20 and 300 nanometers according to WikiPedia. If these researchers are successful in demonstrating that these nanoparticles will exist in the quantum state when not observed, then the same applies to viruses.

Wave-particle duality quantified for the first time

PhysicsWorld sept 2021

Wave-particle duality has plagued physicists since the dawn of quantum physics. If you send a quantum object through a double slit with a screen behind it, the place where this object appears on the screen is determined by the way the state wave travels through the two slits and interferes after te slits with itself. Zones are created in which the probability that the object will manifest there is minimal. That’s the interference pattern. A single object does not produce an interference pattern, you need a large number of objects, with all having the same wavelength. With a sharply defined interference pattern, physicists say they observe the wave nature of the object. I don’t think so, what they actually observe is an interference pattern.

Dubbele spleet interferentie.© Joerg Enderlein

When we arrange the experiment to provide information about the passed slit, the interference pattern disappears and the probability of finding the object becomes greatest in the center behind the two slits and gradually decreases to the left and right. So a faint spot. In that case, physicists say they observe the particle nature of the object. This obviously correct, they always do.

Waves and particles Two lithium niobate crystals (PPLN1 and PPLN2) are pumped and seeded simultaneously by the same pump and seed lasers, resulting in the emission of two signal photons s1 or s2 for quantum interference detection at PD. Then, conjugate idler photons i1 and i2 provide “which-path” (or “which-source”) information, where the controllable source purity is determined by the overlap between the single photon–added coherent states of one of the idler modes and the unchanged coherent state of another idler mode. Two idler fields can be detected independently by detectors DA and DB. (© Institute for Basic Science)

Physicists from Korea’s Institute of Basic Sciences (IBS) have set up and performed an experiment – see figure – where they can gradually control the information about the passed slit from 0 to 100%. The interference pattern observed then gradually diminishes from sharply defined to imperceptible according to a simple Pythagorean relation:

P2 + V2 = μs2.

P stands for what I call the particleness. It indicates the extent to which the particle character – as physicists define it – is observed. If we see sharp interference P is small or zero, if we see no interference P is 100%. The V stands for the interference quality. The closer the value of V is to 100%, the purer wave behavior we observe. The symbol μ stands for a concept they have called source purity. That is a quantum physical defined property of the experimental set-up and we will not go into this any further than to say that μ may be regarded as a constant here. The physicists who conducted this experiment present their result as an argument for a particle-wave complementarity that exhibits along a sliding scale. So a quantum object could be part wave and part particle.

My objection to that is that they create something similar out of two completely different phenomena, the material particle and the immaterial state wave. They see it as something like cooling water vapor that condenses into a drop. As if the unlimited non-local state wave is also something material that gradually changes into a sharply delimited piece of matter.

In my opinion we see here a simple mathematical relation that says: the more information we have about which slit is passed, the greater the probability will be that the object has manifested itself in that slit. The information that available to us creates the object in the slit, which is something I have already argued in several places here and also in my book. I wonder if we don’t actually create both particle and the information ourselves.