Quantum mechanics applies to objects that can be seen by the naked eye

The UC Santa Barbara researchers seen below "have provided the first clear demonstration that the theory of quantum mechanics applies to the mechanical motion of an object large enough to be seen by the naked eye."
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Andrew Cleland, Aaron O'Connell, and John Martinis. Photo: George Foulsham

In a paper published in the March 17 issue of the advance online journal Nature, Aaron O'Connell, a doctoral student in physics, and John Martinis and Andrew Cleland, professors of physics, describe the first demonstration of a mechanical resonator that has been cooled to the quantum ground state, the lowest level of vibration allowed by quantum mechanics. With the mechanical resonator as close as possible to being perfectly still, they added a single quantum of energy to the resonator using a quantum bit (qubit) to produce the excitation. The resonator responded precisely as predicted by the theory of quantum mechanics.


Bob Harris says: "What's the real-world application? No one knows, although cats should start avoiding any box they could become trapped in."

UCSB Physicists Show Theory of Quantum Mechanics Applies to the Motion of Large Objects