Physicists have discovered a quantum trick to getting to absolute zero: ScienceAlert

known as the state of complete rest absolute zero It is one of the universe’s impossible feats. As close as possible, the laws of physics will always prevent us from hitting the bottom of the thermocline.

An international team of researchers has now identified a new theoretical path to reach the legendary mark of zero kelvin, or -273.15 degrees Celsius (-459.67 degrees Fahrenheit). No, it’s not likely to break any laws and eliminate every last glimmer of heat, but the framework could inspire new ways to explore matter at lower temperatures.

as a result of The third law of thermodynamics, removing increments of thermal energy from a group of particles to cool them down to absolute zero will always take an infinite number of steps. As such, it required an infinite amount of energy to achieve. quite the challenge.

Classical physics makes this relatively straightforward. However, when viewed in the context of quantum physics, the problem starts to look a little different.

Quantum physics describes particles according to their probability spread. Once a trait is measured it has a concrete state, and even then, the other traits of the particle become less certain. The particle at the theoretical point of absolute zero will have no motion, which means its position will be certain. Quantitative details regarding their previous location will be effectively erased, and the information deleted.

Enters Landauer principlewhich states that deleting a piece of information requires a minimum and limited amount of energy.

Does this mean there is a quantitative trick to back to zero after all?

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There are two solutions to the paradox. An unlimited amount of time or energy could still be required to make this leap. Or – according to the new research – it would require eliminating an infinite amount of complexity.

It is this new revelation about the role of complexity that offers a new angle for the search for a path to absolute zero, even if it is as practically impossible as the solution scientists have already worked with.

“We have found that quantum systems that allow absolute ground states to be reached can be defined even at finite energy and at a finite time – none of us expected it,” He says Particle physicist Markus Huber, of the Vienna University of Technology in Austria.

“But these special quantum systems have another important property: they are infinitely complex.”

What we have now is essentially a “quantum version” of the third law of thermodynamics that goes beyond what classical physics teaches us: an infinite amount of energy, time, or complexity required to reach absolute zero.

The team’s calculations and modeling also show that completely erasing data and the lowest possible temperature are closely related, and seem impossible to achieve by mere mortals.

It is possible, then, that increasing complexity in systems is another way to get closer to absolute zero, or at least to move forward more quickly.

“If you want to completely erase quantum information in a quantum computer, and in the process move a qubit to an absolutely pure ground state, you would theoretically need an infinitely complex quantum computer that can perfectly control an infinite number of particles,” He says Hopper.

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Practically speaking, no computer system is ever perfect — so the idea that a particle in a quantum computer cannot be completely erased from its data (or previous states) should not be a stumbling block in the development of these technologies.

Quantum mechanics and temperature are closely linked — as we approach absolute zero, strange quantum phenomena start to occur — and the researchers say this is another area where the findings of this study could be useful in the future.

“This is precisely why it is so important to better understand the relationship between quantum theory and thermodynamics,” He says Hopper. “There’s a lot of interesting progress in this area right now. It’s slowly becoming possible to see how these two important parts of physics intertwine.”

Research published in PRX Quantum.

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