QR3.8.5 Quantum Entanglement

Quantum entanglement is one of the great mysteries of quantum theory. When a Cesium atom releases two photons in opposite directions, quantum theory says they evolve as an entangled system with net zero spin yet each photon still randomly spins up or down. However far apart they get, if one photon is spin up the other must be spin down but if both spin randomly, how does each instantly know to be the opposite of the other? Einstein called this “spooky action at a distance”.

Experiment confirms this is true even when the photons are too far apart to exchange a signal at the speed of light (Aspect, Grangier, & Roger, 1982). Based on Bell’s inequality, a prediction based on an Einstein thought experiment (Einstein, Podolsky, & Rosen, 1935) carried out the definitive test that entanglement occurs. It was one of the most careful experiments ever done, as befits the ultimate test of quantum theory, which was proved right yet again. And yet again no physical basis for the result is possible!

Two photons heading in opposite ways are physically apart so if each spins randomly as quantum theory says, why can’t both be up or both be down? What connects them if not physicality? Quantum theory says that the initial spin of zero must be conserved but gives no clue as to how. Nature could conserve spin by making one photon spin up and the other down from the start but apparently this is too much trouble. It lets both photons have either spin until one spin is registered then instantly adjusts the other to be the opposite regardless of where the photons are in the universe. Entangled states that defy physical realism are now common in physics (Salart, Baas, Branciard, Gisin, & Zbinden, 2008).

Figure 3.23. Entanglement as merged processing

Quantum realism explains what quantum theory describes as follows. The two photons emitted by a Cesium atom begin in a reboot that reloads two photon processes at once, i.e. entangles them. Being dynamic, both processes then spread out in both directions but as they entangled in one node, if one photon spins one way the other has to spin the other, so the initial net spin is zero. To us, two photons leave the Cesium atom (Figure 3.23a) but the processing result is more complex: half of each photon process heads off in both directions because each is a processing sequence. What appears to us as two physical photons are at the quantum level both supported by two photon servers that in effect share both “jobs” (Figure 3.23b).

What initially “entangles” is the processing that creates physical events. What leaves to the left is a “photon” run by two servers and what leaves to the right is served in the same way. The two entangled photons are each served by two photon servers. When one of the hybrid photons is measured for spin, the instance that generates that physical event is random as per quantum theory, and it restarts one of the photon servers. That leaves the other opposite spin server to run the other photon (Figure 3.23c).

To recap, when photons entangle their processing merges. From that point, two servers service both “photons” jointly until another physical event starts things anew. The entangled photons look like photons and act like photons but actually each is two “photon halves” in server terms. Spin is conserved because the start and end processing is the same just as the rules of quantum mechanics require.

The effect of entanglement is non-local for the same reason quantum collapse is, that client-server effects ignore the node-to-node transfer limit of the speed of light. If one imagines pixels being produced on a screen, the processing doesn’t have to “go to” a point to cause a change. It can change any point on the screen directly and likewise photon servers act directly no matter how far apart the entangled photons are on the “screen” of our space.

Entanglement also underlies super-conductivity where many electrons entangle. Again the server processing is merged so every electron is a processing hybrid of all the electrons. Hence electrons can “move” without resistance in a superconductive state because each electron in effect exists everywhere in the metal. In Bose-Einstein condensates any number of quantum processes can merge in this way.