Friday, 26 April 2019 18:50

Research which we deserved: physics measured absolute nothing

The Swiss physicists by means of laser impulses could understand the quantum nature of a vacuum. []

What is empty space at the quantum level? It is very difficult to understand it. All existing ways of quantum measurements are based on energy absorption by detectors. But the vacuum is the lowest power condition of space. To try to measure it — all the same what to try to measure force of blow of a motionless fist.

But physicists from ETH Zurich, it seems, managed to cope with this task. Instead of trying to catch energy from emptiness, they decided to reveal influence of a vacuum on photons. For this purpose scientists started up a laser impulse lasting trillionth fractions of a second through the supercooled crystal, and tried to understand how the empty space between atoms of a crystal changes the movement of particles.

Comparing the laser impulses which are passed through a crystal in various places and under different conditions, scientists managed to record what they called "vacuum signals". "To tell the truth, the signal measured by us absolutely tiny, and to us really was necessary to dodge very strongly to the maximum to use our experimental opportunities of measurement of very small fields" — the physicist Gérôme Fest commented on result of a research.

To understand that the caught signal — not noise of devices and not an error of measurement, to physics was necessary to make trillions of observations. But now they have no doubts — it is valid a vacuum signal, and he is capable to influence elementary particles. Well, it seems that "absolute nothing" at all not nothing as earlier scientists thought.