Recent research in the field of quantum mechanics confirms that what we perceive does not always correspond to what actually happens. Quantum mechanics, a world marked by oddities and paradoxes, is once again troubling researchers.
Researchers argue that in quantum mechanics, the observations themselves influence the outcome of the experiment. This has surprising consequences, since the behavior of quantum systems changes depending on whether they are observed or not.
Particularly interesting is the finding that measurement context plays a key role in shaping this effect. A paper describing this research is available in the New Journal of Physics.
Lead author of the study and research fellow at the Universities of Hiroshima and Bristol, Jonte Hance, explains: “Quantum mechanics is a strange thing, and identifying the reasons for that strangeness is still an active area of research.”
The research is based on the concept of a quantum “Cheshire Cat”, where measurements become crucial to producing strange effects.
Professor Holger Hofmann, from Hiroshima University, notes: “Different results arise when you measure a quantum system in different ways, and the original Cheshire Cat interpretation only arises if you combine the results of these different measurements in a very specific way.”
The team of researchers aims to uncover other paradoxical effects and determine whether they are manifestations of contextuality. They also hope to understand how contextuality arises and how these strange phenomena can be used for practical purposes.
Jonte Hans emphasizes, “not only will this help us definitively explain why quantum mechanics is so counter-intuitive, but it will also help us develop ways to exploit this strangeness for practical purposes, such as quantum computing.”