Tricking the uncertainty principle

By Jessica Stoller-Conrad – Prof. of Applied Physics Keith Schwab and his colleagues began by developing a way to actually detect the noise produced during the scattering of microwaves–electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength longer than that of visible light.

To do this, they delivered microwaves of a specific frequency to a superconducting electronic circuit, or resonator, that vibrates at 5 GHz.

The electronic circuit was then coupled to a mechanical device formed of two metal plates that vibrate at around 4 MHz.

The researchers observed that the quantum noise of the microwave field, due to the impact of individual photons, made the mechanical device shake randomly with an amplitude of 10-15 meters, about the diameter of a proton. more>

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