Quantum Weirdness – Part 5 Entangled Particles

Quantum Weirdness

A Matter of Relativity?

Copyright 2006/2007 James A. Tabb

Part 5 – Entangled Particles

Selecting which atom we use with careful attention to its excitation states can create entangled particles. Some atoms emit two photons at a time or very closely together, one in one direction, the other in the opposite direction. These photons also have a property that one spins or is polarized in one direction and the other always spins or is polarized at right angles to the first. They come in pairs such that if we conduct an experiment on one to determine its orientation, the other’s orientation becomes known at once. They are “entangled”.

EPR image

Figure 10 – Entangled Particles  

All of this was involved in a famous dispute between Einstein and Bohr where Einstein devised a series of thought experiments to prove quantum measurement theory defective and Bohr devised answers. The weirdness, if you want to call it that, is the premise that the act of measurement of one actually defines both of them and so one might be thousands of miles away when you measure the first and the other instantly is converted, regardless of the distance between them, to the complement of the first.   Action-at-a-distance that occurs faster than the speed of light?Some would argue (me for instance) that this is more of a hat trick, not unlike where a machine randomly puts a quarter under one hat or the other, and always a nickel under a second one.  You don’t know in advance which contains which.  Does the discovery that one hat has a quarter actually change the other into a nickel or was it always that way?  Some would say that since it is impossible to know what is under each hat, the discovery of the quarter was determined by the act of measuring (lifting the hat) and the other coin only became a nickel at that instant.   Suppose one hat is in Chicago and the other in Paris.  Is this action at a distance? It is easy to say that the measurement of the first particle only uncovers the true nature of the first particle and the deduction of the nature of the second particle is not a case of weirdness at all.   They were that way at the start.However, this is a hotly debated subject and many consider this a real effect and a real problem.  That is, they consider the particles (which are called Einstein‑‑ Podolsky‑Rosen (EPR) pairs) to have a happy-go-lucky existence in which the properties are undetermined until measured.   Measure the polarization of one – and the second instantly takes the other polarization.

A useful feature of entangled particles is the notion that you could encrypt data using these particles such that if anyone attempted to intercept and read them somewhere in their path, the act of reading would destroy the message.

So there you have it – Weird behavior at a distance, maybe across the universe.   Or is it a matter of relativity?

I wish to suggest this: entangled particles are entangled at the time of emission and, from the relativistic perspective, they are still attached together at the point of emission until the time that one or the other is disturbed or destroyed, however far that is. Both ends of their flights are stapled together from the moment of their creation by relativistic space distortion. They both live in a go-splat world where time stands still and everything in their path is zero distance away and zero time lapse away due to the relativistic foreshortening of paths and time distortions to zero. In their time and distance collapsed world, if you can wiggle one, the other knows about it because they are both still stuck against their common emission point at one end until destroyed at the other.   There can be “real world” time elapsed during flight (from our perspective) but the photon is running on null time – relativistic zero time and both are still attached to a common point with both ends separated by zero distance and zero time, even if we measure it at tens of meters and dozens of nanoseconds. 

In Summary – Not So Weird After All

Photons and other particles that travel at c have paths that are effectively zero length and time spans that are of zero duration.   This applies to the path length and lifetime of the particle due to relativistic space time warping at c.   No matter how we measure the time and distance a particle travels in a real-world time frame, the particle has a simultaneous, instantaneous path and duration due to the warping of the space and time at c.

We measure the particle in flight at about a nanosecond a foot.   No matter.  The photon gets there instantaneously – no time elapses for the photon – no ageing takes place.  That means no matter how many mirrors or detectors we flip into or out of a path during our calculated flight time, the photon, traveling at c, transverses the entire path in zero time over zero distance.  Our perspectives are that different.   Mirrors or detectors that are in the path at the time it reaches a certain point by our measurement, were experienced by the particle at the instant it was emitted.   So it knows about it “in advance” due to the space time warp factor.   It does transverse the experiment, but cannot be fooled as it knows the entire path the instant it is created. 

Suppose a distant exploding star emits a photon that arrives at our telescope 4 billion years later (by our normal world calculation).  The photon may pass around lensing galaxies on both sides at once because the entire path, including the incredible width of the galaxies, is of virtually zero width and zero depth to the photon which is traveling at c.   The detector’s position, forward of a focal point or behind it, is also experienced by the photon during that same zero path, zero lifetime defining moment of creation, life, and death.  All due to the incredible time and distance warp at c.  So we think it is weird that the change in our detector, at or behind the focal point seems to affect the chosen path of the photon around the distant lensing galaxy.   Not to the photon.  It knew all along, since “all along” was an instantaneous null time and null distance, warped together.

Photons moving through a double slit experiment have all the elements in its path effectively (although not actually) plastered to its nose and all the elements have zero width and zero depth to the photon during its lifetime.   From our perspective, we consider it moving through the experiment, encountering edges, slits, possibly mirrors or detectors.   Whatever we throw in its path, the photon experiences it as if it were there from the moment of its creation because that is the only moment it has.   All because it lives in a relativistic go-splat world.

Photons moving through crystals and reversed crystals see all the paths simultaneously and its entire flight path as one event – all happening simultaneously.   All open paths are valid because they are essentially congruent, allowing the photons to retain their polarity if there are paths that maintain its ability recombine at the far end.  If any path is broken by a detector when it would pass by in our real world measurement system, then it is encountered in its relativistic world during its null time existence.

Quantum Weirdness is All a Matter of Relativity! 

James A. Tabb

Marietta, Georgia

Originally published among friends February 6, 2006

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13 responses to “Quantum Weirdness – Part 5 Entangled Particles

  1. Re: Entangled Particles
    While reading a book by Paul Davies in the early 90’s the same explanation occurred to me and I wrote a few popular media physicists why did it not occur to them. None ever wrote back. It is the simplest of all explanations and since it was provided within special relativity why did Einstien not catch on?

  2. re: The coin and Hat trick

    It’s not as straight up as a simple quarter and nickel. Bell’s Theorem would have one party measure EITHER coin value OR whether it was found heads up or tails (it’s +/- spin measured or momentum measured).

    This added element is what makes it weird when results test out.

  3. Stuart Hallam

    A similar thought had occurred to me for photons, but , how can you explain atom/atom entanglement, when atoms do not move at c , or ion ion entanglement? I have even read in some literature experiments have been performed on molecules . Usually photons are involved somewhere in the experiment, or an electric/magnetic field , but nonetheless , it is implied strongly in thye literature that any quantum object is capable of existing in an entangled state, not just photons.

    Regards, Stuart

  4. The discussion about electromagnetic spectrum has been commonly associated to the Planck’s formula of Black Body Radiaton. We know that the Planck Formula for the internal energy of black body radiation is of form :

    U(T) = ћω / [exp(ћω/(kT) – 1]

    But when Einstein verified the phenomenon using harmonic oscillators, the above Planck’s formula can only explain us that the energy difference between the sequence of two energy levels of harmonic oscillator is ћω. But if the internal energy is taken in the following form :

    U(T) = 0.5ћω[ tanh{0.5ћω/(kT) – iП/2} – 1]

    We will also verify that the minimum energy of the harmonic oscillator is 0.5ћω, and justifying that there are so many harmonic oscillators involved that known from П/2 as the phase differences representing between the two energy lavels. Is this interested Sir? If so, I also give more information, that there is a possibility to include external perturbation to the differential equation representation of the above New Planck’s Formula. Perhaps the New Planck’s Formula that can be useful to explain not only about the experiment of regulated speed waves but also to disclose confidential global warming.

  5. Hi Oldtimer,
    The exact same question of “non c ” traveling particles occurred to me as well.
    See below. Would like to see your response.
    Enjoy your site.
    Well done.

    A similar thought had occurred to me for photons, but , how can you explain atom/atom entanglement, when atoms do not move at c , or ion ion entanglement? I have even read in some literature experiments have been performed on molecules . Usually photons are involved somewhere in the experiment, or an electric/magnetic field , but nonetheless , it is implied strongly in thye literature that any quantum object is capable of existing in an entangled state, not just photons.

    Regards, Stuart

  6. Hi. All very interesting, and it is important to think of these issues, but i am afraid the explanations do not add up. Without going into long explanations, a simple way to prove that these explanations are wrong is to consider all your experiments conducted with non-relativistic electrons (or any other elementary particle with mass) instead of photons. So, for example, using non-relativistic electrons for the equivalent of the double slit experiment, the quantum weirdness is still present and relativistic effects are minimal.

    regards, anish

    • Hmm Anish, and how fast are the quarks moving within the elementary particles. How fast are the electrons spinning, looping around, vibrating? Perhaps we can’t see them for relativistic reasons? Perhaps we can’t pin down both postion and momentum becasue of relativistic effects within the particle. How is it that particle sometimes pops out of empty space and then disapears again? I think the parts are subject to the same relativistic laws are they not? What is the effect on particle with mass if its internal parts are moving at something close to the speed of light? I know the average speed is much less, but the interanal parts give the whole some relativistic weirdness.

  7. I don’t understand the issues with entanglement between objects with non-relativistic speeds? I don’t see how their speed has anything to do with the fact that they are entangled from the start. If their properties are defined at the point of creation, what’s the big deal?

    • The problem is that some fancy experimental work has shown that the apparent instantaneous communication due to entanglement is not down to properties of the particles defined at creation time, i.e. they are not carrying the properties with them (this is often called the ‘hidden variable’ theory).

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_test_experiments

      • Actually, what it show’s is that under QM, you have to give up either locality or realism. Regardless, QM is an incomplete theory.

  8. The real question if entanglement is truly action at a distance or merely the discovery of a pre-existing state would be an experiment where one CHANGES the Q-state of one half of an entangled pair (meaning measure, then change) and then checking if the other half of the pair changed back. For instance e1 is found to have a spin=+1/2, therefore e2 spin is checked and found to be =-1/2. Now change e2 spin to =+1/2, does e1’s spin now flip to -1/2? This obviously would not be a pre-existing state that happens to be discovered but actual action at a distance and a pretty cool way to save on your cell phone minutes to other planets too! But, being a mere layperson I do not know if this would destroy the entanglement by such interaction or if this experiment has already been performed.

  9. So Oldtimer, you are saying that all the particles of the universe being relativistic objects are in the same space at the same time thus all interacting with each other!! I think that this theory makes a leap outside the boundaries of Physics. In my opinion what makes an actual Physical theory is a mathematical formulation which allows you to explain some un-explained phenomena and to make predictions which can be proven by further experiments.
    Otherwise we are just making bed-time stories for gown-up children.

    • Not all the particles in the universe. No. Certainly not. Only those particles moving at the speed of light that happen to cross or move along the SAME particular point in space are there at the same time (t=0) as the one that precedes it or trails it. I theorize that the disturbance left by the first one interferes with the next one in some proportion to how close and how aligned the tracks are, but probably not the one after because of the disturbance of the interference event. . Meaning that a trailing particle can be interfered with by an earlier or later one, but that interference may make it “skip” the next one.. They can be seconds or even hours apart as far as how we measure things but if time 0 is one place in time (for that point) then things happen to the track that make them diverge into patterns. All the other particles are moving throughout the universe that don’t cross that path have nothing to do with those that do. I apologize if my humble writing has not been clear on this point. In the case of entangled particles, they exist at the same time and same place throughout their life. So what happens a hundred miles away affects the other particle because happens simultaneously with their first parting. Distance is foreshortened to zero, as is time. Einstein’s equations if applied to both particles say that the distance between the two particles is never greater than zero and the lifetime of each is also zero. So what ever happens to one affects the other and the action can be millions of miles away as we measure them. Time and space are both warped to the same point until they are affected externally.

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