In a recent investigation, scientists discovered the first “quantum entangled” mammal in history.
They’re called frozen tardigrades, and they’re microscopic multicellular animals that can endure harsh physiochemical circumstances by going into a dormant state known as cryptobiosis.
“Their proportions are a little bit similar to a bear’s, and they’re kind of cute, at least some of them are cute to some people,” Roger Chang, a Harvard University molecular biologist who studies tardigrades, said.
Quantum and biological systems are rarely studied together since they appear to necessitate diametrically opposed circumstances. Quantum objects are small, cold, and well-controlled, but life is complicated and “hot and wet.”
Researchers detected the interaction between a cryptobiosis animal and a superconducting quantum bit in the study and created a highly entangled state between the combined system and another qubit. The remaining subsystems are demonstrated to be intertwined with the tardigrade itself.
“What the authors did here was put a tardigrade on top of the capacitive sections of one of two connected qubits,” says Douglas Natelson, chair of Rice University’s physics and astronomy department.
“Because the tardigrade is primarily (frozen) water, it functions as a dielectric here, altering the resonance frequency of the one qubit it sits on,” he noted.
“The qubit is an electrical circuit, and putting the tardigrade next to it changes it through the rules of electromagnetism we’ve known about for more than 150 years,” said retired scientist Ben Brubaker.
The investigation, according to the researchers, is “perhaps the closest realisation of biological matter and quantum matter available with current technology.”
“While similar physical results from inanimate materials with similar composition to the tardigrade would be expected,” the team stated in their report, “we underline that entanglement is observed with [an] whole organism that preserves its biological functions post-experiment.”
“At the same time, the tardigrade managed to survive the most intense and extended conditions it has ever faced.”
(With the help of agencies)