An artist’s impression of a quantum experiment. Credit: University of Southampton

Scientists are one step closer to unlocking the universe’s mysterious forces after working on a way to measure gravity at the microscopic level.

Scientists have never fully understood how the force discovered by Isaac Newton works in the tiny quantum world. Even Einstein was puzzled by quantum gravity and, at that said that there is no realistic experiment that can show a quantum version of gravity.

But now physicists at the University of Southampton, working with scientists in Europe, have successfully detected the weak gravitational pull on a tiny particle using a new technique.

They claim that this could pave the way for the discovery of quantum gravity theory.

experience, published I Advances in scienceused levitating magnets to detect gravity on microscopic particles small enough to border the quantum realm.

Lead author Tim Fuchs, from the University of Southampton, said the findings could help experts find a missing puzzle piece in our picture of reality.

He added, “For a century, scientists have tried and failed to understand how gravity and quantum mechanics work together. We now have the smallest mass of gravity ever recorded. have successfully measured K signals, which means we are finally one step closer to understanding how it works.

“From here we will start reducing the source using this technique until we reach the quantum world on both sides. By understanding quantum gravity, we can solve some of the mysteries of our universe such as How it started, what happens inside. or the unification of all forces into one grand theory.”

The principles of the quantum realm are not yet fully understood by science—but it is believed that particles and forces at the microscopic scale interact differently from regular-sized objects.

Academics from Southampton carried out the experiment with scientists from Leiden University in the Netherlands and the Institute for Photonics and Nanotechnologies in Italy.

A sophisticated setup was used in their study. Known as traps, with magnetic fields, sensitive detectors and advanced vibration isolation. He measured a weak pull, just 30aN, on a tiny particle 0.43mg in size, taking it one-hundredth of a degree from absolute zero to freezing temperatures – about -273 degrees Celsius.

Hendrik Albrecht, professor of physics at the University of Southampton, also said the findings open the door to future experiments between even smaller objects and forces.

“We are pushing the boundaries of science that could lead to new discoveries about gravity and the quantum world,” he added.

“Our new technique that uses extreme And devices that isolate particle vibrations will likely prove the way forward for measurements. .

“Unraveling these mysteries will help us unlock more secrets about the very fabric of the universe, from tiny particles to the grandest cosmic structures.”

More information:
Tim Fuchs et al, Measuring Gravitation with Milligram Levitated Masses, Advances in science (2024). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adk2949.

Reference: Scientists close to discovering quantum gravity theory after measuring gravity at microscopic level

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