Quantum Gravity Unraveled – Scientists Crack The Cosmic Code That Confused Einstein – Sce

Researchers have developed a method to measure gravity at a microscopic level, marking a significant advance in understanding quantum gravity. Credit: SciTechDaily.com

Physicists have successfully measured gravity in the quantum world, detecting the weak gravitational pull on a tiny particle with a new technique that uses levitating magnets, putting scientists closer to solving the universe's mysteries.

Scientists are one step closer to unraveling the universe's mysterious forces after working out how to measure gravity at a microscopic level.

Experts have never fully understood how Isaac Newton's discovered force works in the tiny quantum world.

Even Einstein was puzzled by quantum gravity and stated in his theory of general relativity that there was no realistic experiment that could show a quantum version of gravity.

Quantum gravity is a breakthrough

However, physicists at the University of Southampton, working with scientists in Europe, have now successfully detected a weak gravitational pull on a tiny particle using a new technique.

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They claim this could pave the way to finding the elusive quantum theory of gravity.

Tests, published Science advances journal, used levitating magnets to detect gravity in microscopic particles—small enough to border the quantum realm.

Quantum Experiment Artist's impression

Artist's impression of a quantum experiment. Credit: University of Southampton

Pioneering gravity research

Lead author Tim Fuchs, from the University of Southampton, said the findings could help experts find the missing piece of the puzzle in our picture of reality.

He added: “For a century, scientists have tried and failed to understand how gravity and quantum mechanics work together.

“Now that we've successfully measured the gravitational signal at the smallest mass ever recorded, it means we're finally one step closer to understanding how it works.

“From here we will start scaling the source using this technique until we reach the quantum world in both directions.

“By understanding quantum gravity, we can solve some of the mysteries of our universe – like how it started, what happens inside black holes, or how all energy is tied together in one big theory.”

The laws of the quantum state are not yet fully understood by science – but it is believed that particles and forces on a microscopic scale interact differently than regular-sized objects.

Funded by an EU Horizon Europe EIC Pathfinder grant (QuCoM), academics from Southampton conducted the experiment with scientists from Leiden University in the Netherlands and the Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnology in Italy.

Their research used a sophisticated setup known as a trap, a superconducting device with magnetic fields, sensitive detectors and improved vibration isolation.

It measured a weak pull, just 30aN, on a tiny particle 0.43mg in size by blowing it up at a freezing temperature of one-hundredth of a degree. Zero of course – about minus -273 degrees Celsius.

Expanding the horizons of quantum research

Hendrik Ulbricht, professor of physics at the University of Southampton, said the results open the door to future experiments in even smaller objects and energies.

He added: “We are pushing the boundaries of science which could lead to new discoveries about gravity and the quantum world.

“Our new technique that uses extremely cold temperatures and devices to decouple particle vibrations will likely prove the way forward for measuring quantum gravity.

“Unraveling these mysteries will help unlock more secrets about the very fabric of our universe, from the tiniest particles to the cosmic structure.”

References: Tim M. Fuchs, Dennis G. Uttenbrock, Jamie Plag, Naude van Halteren, Jean-Paul van Soest, Andrea Vinante, Hendrik Ulbricht, and Tjerk H. Osterkamp, ​​23 February, 23 February Science advances.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adk2949

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