Is Quantum Entanglement Driven By Wormholes?

December 4, 2013
Image Caption: This illustration demonstrates a wormhole connecting two black holes. Credit: Alan Stonebraker/American Physical Society

John P. Millis, PhD for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

One of the strangest consequences of quantum theory, is what happens when elementary particles are created in pairs. These individual charges become entangled with their counterparts. The result is that interactions with one of these particles creates direct consequences for the other, even if the other particle is on the other side of the Universe.

The simplest example of this is when an electron and positron are created when a photon interacts with a crystal. These particles are entangled with each other, and will remain so until one or the other is interacted with. This holds true even if one of the particles is whisked away to a distant region of the cosmos. Should one of the particles be hit with a photon of light and, say, have its spin aligned in the ‘up’ direction, the other particle will instantaneously have its spin aligned in the ‘down’ direction.

At first glance this appears to be a violation of general relativity, since information is forbidden from traveling faster than the speed of light. How could information about the first particle’s spin be transmitted to its partner, potentially millions of light-years away, without the passage of a single second? This question bothered Albert Einstein as well, who famously called it a “spooky action at a distance”.

Researchers Andreas Karch from the University of Washington and Kristan Jensen of Stony Brook University in New York have now proposed a solution to the conundrum: worm holes. These theoretical predictions of general relativity are usually associated with black holes, whose rotation and intense gravity could twist space-time to the point where entangled black hole pairs could create a bridge from one object to the other.

However, without the presence of exotic matter – such as negative mass particles that have never been observed – there would be no way to sustain the bridge without it collapsing on itself. The result is that in the case of black holes, no information can be exchanged between the entangled black holes.

The work of Karch and Jensen has demonstrated that the same wormhole solution can be arrived at by using quantum mechanics, instead of general relativity. They now contend that the same sort of bridge that links entangled black holes connects quantum particle pairs. While there is still considerable work to be done, this discovery will supply researchers with new tools to develop the mechanics of entangled systems, whether they are massive black holes or quantum dots.

Source: John P. Millis, PhD for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

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