Researchers have come across an odd phenomenon while studying the properties of quantum physics. Again and again experiments have shown that two linked particles seem to be entangled and what happens to one happens to the other. Surprisingly it doesn't matter if they're one mile apart or 100 miles apart. Theoretically the entanglement might hold even if they were 100 million light years apart.
What can possibly tie the two particles together that they violate all the rules and just ignore distance and—more importantly—time?
Perhaps the answer has arrived—in the nick of time—from two physicists unraveling the weird state of entanglement. Their solution, if testable, may accomplish more than solving a thought problem. It might provide the path towards crunching information in quantum computers and reveal a bit more of how the multiverse all fits together.
The lead author of the study attempting to untangle entanglement is quantum physicist S. Jay Olson of Australia’s University of Queensland. In an interview with wired.com, Olson explained how particles can interact outside of time and space. “You can send your quantum state into the future without traversing the middle time."
Using the quantum to circumvent time
The universe's speed limit is the speed of light; 186,000 miles per second. But for entangled particles operating in the quantum speed limits don't exist. Entangled particles are linked outside of the space time continuum.
It's believed that so-called "ordinary" entanglement binds two atomic particles—normally electrons or photons—so closely that they literally share the same quantum state. Disturbing one particle elicits an instant change in the other no matter where that other is in space.
This amazing property allows physicists to utilize entangled particles to transmit information and encrypt data with unbreakable coding. The property of entanglement also allows the creation of super computers so fast that 2011 computing technology would be relegated to the Stone Age.
But entanglement offers the promise of even more: scientists believe using its inherent properties in certain ways can facilitate data burst transmissions of massive amounts of information anywhere in the universe using a special protocol: quantum teleportation.
Using quantum teleportation to send information only employs the use of a handful of atoms.
This is Star Trek technology. Quantum teleportation for the transmission of information is similar to the sub-space communication envisioned by Gene Roddenberry. It's also the technology that Captain Kirk used to save his own skin on several occasions.
Olson and his Queensland colleague Timothy Ralph have posted a mathematical model posted on arXiv.org demonstrating how quantum information can be sent anywhere the system is set up and from the past into the future.
“If you use our timelike entanglement, you find that [a quantum message] moves in time, while skipping over the intermediate points,” Olson told wired.com. “There really is no difference mathematically. Whatever you can do with ordinary entanglement, you should be able to do with timelike entanglement.”
Other experiments by other researchers have shown how quantum physics can reverse the laws of causality. Normally a cause is followed by an effect. But some experiments have revealed that entangled particles can respond to a cause before the cause has occurred.
Using that principle, it's logical to assume that information can not only be sent forward in time, but backwards in time as well.
Olson and Ralph, however, do not address reverse causality in their study.