Wormholes are a staple of science fiction, and it’s possible they exist in the real universe. But how would they work? Physicists have now used a quantum processor to simulate a traversable wormhole, teleporting information between two quantum systems.
In fiction, wormholes are usually depicted as tunnels that connect two distant points in space, allowing instantaneous travel through the cosmos. But while they might seem like little more than a convenient story device, wormholes are surprisingly plausible in reality. Einstein himself proposed their existence as a feature of his general theory of relativity, and over the decades that followed, scientists investigated where and how we might find them.
But their properties remain poorly known, several contradictory models being all possible. This creates a paradox – to know more we would need observations of real wormholes, but to observe them we would need to know more in order to know what to look for. Computer simulations can help break the loop, allowing physicists to test different wormhole designs and see how they might behave.
In the new study, the scientists achieved this for the first time. However, this type of simulation cannot be run on just any old computer – it required the power of quantum computers, which tap into the weird realm of quantum physics to perform calculations beyond the reach of computers. traditional.
The team was investigating an intriguing correlation between wormholes and quantum physics – the idea of a wormhole sending objects across the universe in the blink of an eye is eerily similar to quantum teleportation, where Information can be sent instantly between two entangled particles, no matter how far apart they are.
Using Google’s Sycamore quantum processor, scientists from Caltech, Harvard, Fermilab and Google performed the first simulation of a wormhole. The key was an established model known as SYK that could simulate the effects of quantum gravity – in this case, the team entangled two simplified SYK systems, then sent a quantum bit (qubit) of information into the ‘One. Two.
And of course the information emerged from the second system. This not only demonstrated quantum teleportation, but because both SYK models also simulate quantum gravity, it was a realistic simulation of how a traversable wormhole would work in the real world.
It has long been predicted that to keep a wormhole open long enough for something to pass through, it would have to be hit with a blast of negative energy. In simulations, the team tested this idea and found that wormhole signatures only worked if they hit it with a pulse of simulated negative energy — but not positive energy. According to the team, this validates the model as representing more than just a standard quantum teleportation event.
Of course, it’s far from a real tunnel through spacetime, but the team says this model could help physicists probe the properties of real-world wormholes, if they exist. It could improve our understanding of them to the point that we’ll eventually figure out how to search for them in the cosmos.
“We have found a quantum system that exhibits the key properties of a gravitational wormhole, but is small enough to be implemented on today’s quantum hardware,” said Maria Spiropulu, principal investigator of the ‘study. “This work is a step towards a larger program of testing quantum gravity physics using a quantum computer. It does not replace direct probes of quantum gravity in the same way as other planned experiments. that could probe the effects of quantum gravity in the future using quantum sensing, but it offers a powerful test bed for putting the ideas of quantum gravity into practice.”
The research was published in the journal Nature.
Source: Caltech, Google