Researchers of the Academy explore the consequences of locality for measurements distributed in spacetime. Their article has now been published in the Nature journal Quantum Information.
Locality is a fundamental principle behind all physical interactions. It says that each physical system can only interact with other systems in its immediate vicinity, so that interactions between two distant objects must be mediated by an intermediary. For instance, in the familiar case of radio communication devices and mobile phones, that send and receive information over a distance, the role of the intermediary is played by electromagnetic waves. Particle physics tells us that elementary particles behave similarly. When two of them exert a force on each other, this does not happen instantaneously over distance, rather by an exchange of a particle which mediates that force locally. An important consequence of the locality of interactions is that many physical systems, such as solids as well as quantum fields describing elementary particles, satisfy the so-called "area law" property.
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