07:26 GMT29 March 2020
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    Wormholes, the theoretical connection between disparate regions of space-time, have been widely speculated about as a possible super-fast way of travelling vast distances. The catch? They’re extremely unstable and might destroy any matter unfortunate enough to pass through them.

    A group of physicists at the California Institute of Technology have proposed creating a functional wormhole using a pair of quantum-entangled black holes.

    The idea, first reported on by Quanta Magazine, may sound like something out of science fiction. But there’s no need to be alarmed, scientists insist, since the black holes wouldn’t be of the scary, supermassive kind which exist in space and suck everything, including light, into their deadly maw. Rather, these black holes can be created in a lab using just a few atoms and ions.

    The researchers, led by Caltech division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy PhD candidate Sepehr Ghazi Nezami, say they want to put some information into one end of the quantum entangled black holes via a quantum particle, with the hope being that it comes out at the other end just fine after using the space-time shortcut known as a wormhole.

    In addition to revealing insights about the nature of space time, the revolutionary proposal could help answer some questions which have agonised physicists, astronomers and other scientists for over a century, since the creation of Einstein’s theory of relativity, namely: Just how dangerous is travel through a black hole? And is it possible to use them as a teleportation device?

    As far as practical applications are concerned, Andromeda-style galactic teleportation isn’t the only possibility, with the prospective tool seen as having the potential to improve quantum computing technology.

    Illustration of supermassive black hole pair
    © NASA . CXC/A.Hobart
    Illustration of supermassive black hole pair
    The idea that teeny-tiny black holes can actually be synthesised in a lab was first demonstrated to be theoretically possible by researchers last year, with researchers from the University of Maryland coming up with the idea of a wormhole-like quantum circuit after confirming the possibility of quantum scrambling –or the mixing up of information stored inside a set of atoms, with the potential to restore it to its original state.

    The hope is that the encoded quantum particle can be placed in one end of the ‘black hole’ circuit, after which it will be scrambled and consumed, only to come out the other side reassembled.

    Researchers are presently engaged in discussions with scientists at experimental physics laboratories about the possibility of adapting quantum-scrambling circuits to test out their ideas, with concrete plans yet to materialise.


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