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Protons are complicated. The subatomic particles are themselves composed of smaller particles called quarks and gluons. Now, data from the Large Hadron Collider hint that protons’ constituents don’t behave independently. Instead, they are tethered by quantum links known as entanglement, three physicists report in a paper published April 26 at arXiv.org.

 

 

 

 

Quantum entanglement has previously been probed on scales much larger than a proton. In experiments, entangled particles seem to instantaneously influence one another, sometimes even when separated by distances as large as thousands of kilometers (SN: 8/5/17, p. 14). Although scientists suspected that entanglement occurs within a proton, signs of that phenomenon hadn’t been experimentally demonstrated inside the particle, which is about a trillionth of a millimeter across.

 

 

“The idea is, this is a quantum mechanical particle which, if you look inside it, … it’s itself entangled,” says theoretical physicist Piet Mulders of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who was not involved with the research.


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Category: Science