Cool light to bring quantum magic into the real world


LIGHT tends to heat things up; less obvious are its dramatic cooling capabilities. Now it seems light’s cold side could provide a cheaper, easier way to explore the limits of quantum theory. Quantum mechanics describes electrons and atoms, but not everyday “macroscopic” objects. One way to probe where and why quantum laws break down is to induce quantum behaviour in ever-larger objects. At room temperature, thermal vibrations destroy delicate quantum states. So the largest object to attain a quantum state, a microscopic lever in a “superposition” of still and vibrating states,
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