Descoberta científica do ano: a primeira máquina quântica

terça-feira, dezembro 21, 2010

Science's Breakthrough of the Year: The First Quantum Machine

ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2010) — Until this year, all human-made objects have moved according to the laws of classical mechanics. Back in March, however, a group of researchers designed a gadget that moves in ways that can only be described by quantum mechanics -- the set of rules that governs the behavior of tiny things like molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. In recognition of the conceptual ground their experiment breaks, the ingenuity behind it and its many potential applications, Science has called this discovery the most significant scientific advance of 2010.

Science's Breakthrough of the Year goes to the first mechanical, vibrating device, which is as long as a hair is wide. The device is the first to reach the quantum ground state, a feat achieved by physicists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. (Credit: Aaron D. O’Connell and Andrew N. Cleland/University of California, Santa Barbara)

Physicists Andrew Cleland and John Martinis from the University of California at Santa Barbara and their colleagues designed the machine -- a tiny metal paddle of semiconductor, visible to the naked eye -- and coaxed it into dancing with a quantum groove. First, they cooled the paddle until it reached its "ground state," or the lowest energy state permitted by the laws of quantum mechanics (a goal long-sought by physicists). Then they raised the widget's energy by a single quantum to produce a purely quantum-mechanical state of motion. They even managed to put the gadget in both states at once, so that it literally vibrated a little and a lot at the same time -- a bizarre phenomenon allowed by the weird rules of quantum mechanics.
Science and its publisher, AAAS, the nonprofit science society, have recognized this first quantum machine as the 2010 Breakthrough of the Year. They have also compiled nine other important scientific accomplishments from this past year into a top ten list, appearing in a special news feature in the journal's 17 December 2010 issue. Additionally, Science news writers and editors have chosen to spotlight 10 "Insights of the Decade" that have transformed the landscape of science in the 21st Century.
Read more here/Leia mais aqui: Science Daily