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A fundamental feature of quantum physics is superposition of states, such as the double slit experiment in which a particle passes through both slits at the same time to interfere downstream. This kind of spatially separated quantum superposition has been observed for particles from electrons to complex molecules, but what about larger macroscopic systems?

The biggest obstacle is decoherence—preparing and measuring a superposition of so many atoms requires minimizing environmental interactions that would otherwise rapidly destroy this fragile state. Writing in Physical Review Letters, Oriol Romero-Isart from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and colleagues propose a method for creating and observing quantum superpositions of objects with millions of atoms.

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Category: Science