Bristol University researchers have made a significant breakthrough in quantum physics with their landmark project aimed at creating an experimental wormhole. By taking advantage of the fundamental laws of physics, the team's 'counter-transportation' technology can reconstitute small objects through space without the need for any particles to cross. This achievement provides evidence of a physical reality that supports our current understanding of the world and could have far-reaching implications for future technologies.
The University of Bristol has unveiled the first practical project aimed at creating a wormhole in a laboratory, which could potentially bridge the gap between space and the interior of the universe. The project uses a novel computer scheme, published in the journal Quantum Science and Technology, that leverages the fundamental laws of physics. This technology, called ‘counter-transportation,’ can transport a small object through space without any particles crossing it. According to the University of Bristol, this achievement provides “irrefutable proof” of the existence of a physical reality that supports our most accurate description of the world.
Hatim Salih, Honorary Research Fellow at the University’s Quantum Engineering Technology (QET) Labs and co-founder of the startup DotQuantum, describes the project as a significant milestone that they have been working towards for several years. This achievement provides both a theoretical and practical basis for re-examining enduring mysteries of the universe, including the true nature of spacetime. Scientists have long held the assumption that detectable information carriers must travel through when we communicate, such as a stream of photons crossing an optical fiber or through the air to allow people to read this text.
Similarly, when we communicate using our brains, a multitude of neural signals bounce around.
Even for quantum teleportation, which enables the transfer of complete information about a small object, creating an indistinguishable copy of the original elsewhere while the original disintegrates, there is a fundamental limit preventing perfect copying. It’s important to mention that the recent simulation of a wormhole on Google’s Sycamore processor is essentially an experiment in teleportation. Hatim explained that counterportation achieves the goal of teleportation, which is disembodied transport, without any detectable information carriers traveling across.
Wormholes, which were popularized in the movie Interstellar featuring Nobel laureate Kip Thorne, were initially proposed as solutions to Einstein’s gravity equation as shortcuts in spacetime. The key task of a traversable wormhole is to make space traversable disjunctly, without any observable journey across space outside the wormhole. The research team completed their groundbreaking work to the spine-tingling music from Interstellar, appropriately setting the tone for their accomplishment.
“If counterportation is to be realized, an entirely new type of quantum computer has to be built: an exchange-free one, where communicating parties exchange no particles,” Hatim said. “By contrast to large-scale quantum computers that promise remarkable speed-ups, which no one yet knows how to build, the promise of exchange-free quantum computers of even the smallest scale is to make seemingly impossible tasks – such as counterportation – possible, by incorporating space in a fundamental way alongside time.”
Leading UK quantum experts in Bristol, Oxford, and York are collaborating to build a physical prototype of this otherworldly-sounding wormhole in the lab. Hatim added that the aim is to construct the wormhole in the lab in the near future, which can serve as a testing ground for competing physical theories, including those related to quantum gravity.
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