Quantum theory passes zero-gravity test

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Scientists are finally able to confirm that quantum theory holds up even in the absence of gravity. Physicists fired quantum-entangled photons from the ground to the quantum satellite Micius, where they were remeasured.

Getting quantum theory and Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to agree has long been the holy grail of physics. Quantum mechanics is the province of atomic physics, while Einstein’s theory is concerned largely with gravity.

“But a key barrier to progress on this problem,” said University of Queensland physicist Timothy Ralph, “has been the difficulty in performing experiments in which effects from both theories play a significant role simultaneously.”

The team wanted to know whether quantum mechanical theories had to be rewritten to accommodate certain features of general relativity.

“However, our results showed that gravity doesn’t affect quantum states in the speculated way,” said Ralph. “The bizarre predictions of quantum mechanics continue to be accurate, even under the extreme situation of transferring quantum particles many hundreds of kilometres from the Earth’s surface.

“Perhaps it’s the theory of relativity that needs to evolve to reflect the scientific theories behind quantum mechanics, and not the other way around.”

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