|‘Schrödinger’s Hat’ Uses Invisibility to Measure Quantum World|
|Friday, 01 June 2012 15:50|
Mathematicians now suspect quirks in energy-cloaking metamaterials could be exploited to create powerful quantum probes called “Schrödinger’s hats.”
Although not yet built or proven in the real world, such hats — their name a nod at Erwin Schrödinger’s famous cat-boxing thought experiment — might record extremely subtle signals that would otherwise be scrambled by any attempt to measure them.
Should the theoretical work pan out in the laboratory, Schrödinger’s hats could be a boon to nanotechnology, where the simple act of observing a nano-scale object can confound a measurement.
“Conceptually, a Schrödinger’s hat is like an invisible battery. It captures a tiny bit of energy without fiddling with the [energy] waves so you can later get a measurement,” said Allan Greenleaf, a mathematician at the University of Rochester. Greenleaf co-authored a study of the Schrödinger’s hats published May 29 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.