Scientists captured free-falling atoms in a net. They looked for loopholes in the theory of gravity.

At all non-cosmic scales, the theory of gravity dominates space. That is why, when searching for answers to the question about the nature of dark energy, scientists look for all possible deviations from the predictions of the theory of gravity. Each such deviation can give hope that we have been able to find the first starting point, the analysis of which can lead us to know the nature of dark energy.

And Latest scientific material Published in the journal Nature physics A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, described a remarkable experiment that looked for deviations from the theory of gravity on the atomic scale. If something like this can be observed, it can be assumed that it indicates the existence of a theoretical particle, namely symmetry.

In an experiment conducted using an atomic interferometer, physicists immobilized atoms falling freely on an optical grating for a few seconds, thus investigating the effect of gravity on the atoms.

You can ask about the results of the experiment here. To date, no deviations from the theory of gravity have been identified. However, this is only the beginning of the research, because scientists plan to improve the measurement accuracy of the experiment in the near future. Therefore, it is possible that after improving the camera, you will be able to see something unusual.

Scientists also point out another important fact here. Atomic interferometers are capable of immobilizing falling atoms for 70 seconds or even longer. This fact makes it theoretically useful not only for studying gravitational interactions at the atomic level, but also at the quantum level. Combining these two words: gravity and quantities in one sentence is very interesting for scientists from all over the world. No matter how you look at it, all forces of nature except gravity could be described in quantitative terms. Creating a theory that can combine quantum physics and gravity is currently the greatest holy grail that everyone is desperately seeking.

Read also: He took a picture of the corn. He used a store-bought camera.

It is also possible that the theory of everything could explain the accelerating expansion of the universe. Dark energy is estimated to account for up to 70 percent of all matter and energy in the universe. The problem is that we still don’t know what it is (the same goes for dark matter). Scientists don’t know whether we are dealing here with the energy of the vacuum of space or with a new force of nature that pushes matter away from itself, unlike gravity. However, it is worth emphasizing here that in such a case dark energy would be a much weaker force than gravity, which is a weak force of nature anyway.

Groups of cesium atoms suspended in a vacuum chamber are photographed. Source: Christian Panda, UC Berkeley

As part of the experiment described in the article, scientists placed approximately 10,000 cesium atoms in a special vacuum chamber. They were so far apart that they couldn’t interact with each other in any way. The optical network was responsible for trapping the atoms in clouds of about ten atoms each. Earth’s gravity tries to pull such atoms down with a force billions of times greater than the force exerted by the mass of tungsten suspended above the atoms. However, the atoms are kept at one height, because the optical lattice here acts like a typical shelf on which the atoms rest. In the experiment set up in this way, the atoms are divided into two wave packets that lie in superposition and are placed in separate places on the grid. When these beams come together, scientists receive all the quantum information about their state.

So far, the theory of gravity works perfectly. Scientists are already building a new atomic interferometer that will be able to maintain a lower temperature than the current one and better control vibrations. Everything indicates that it will be a hundred times more accurate than the current one. So there is hope that this time he will be able to see the quantum properties of gravity. It remains to wait for the results of the first experiments conducted using this device.

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