We know that quantum physics is strange, but it may be even stranger than we think.
In a new study proposed by researchers in Israel and Japan, the team will hope to answer the question: What actually happens in a superposition, or the phenomenon in which particles appear to be in multiple places or states simultaneously?
They suggest an experiment in which scientists could see where a particle (a photon in this case, or a particle of light) actually exists during a superposition, Scientific American reports.But the researchers think that the real answer is going to be even weirder than the particle being at "two places at once."
Researchers for decades have been unable to answer the question of superposition. Every time they try to observe the phenomenon, it disappears. Leading physicists Avshalom Eliztur and Yakir Aharonov are teaming up with Kyoto University researchers Ryo Okamoto and Shigeki Takeuchi to split a probe photon's paths into three parts using partial mirrors. In each route, it has the possibility of interacting with a shutter photon in a superposition.
"These interactions can be considered to take place within boxes labeled A, B and C, one of which is situated along each of the photon’s three possible routes," Scientific American reports. "By looking at the self-interference of the probe photon, one can retrospectively conclude with certainty the shutter particle was in a given box at a specific time."