Quantum Particles Capable of Penetrating Through 5 Potential Barriers

Jun 16, 2014 07:35 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Researchers have released a report in the Journal Science that states that particles can pass through tunnels through long-range impassable barriers in spite of its own energy not supporting the trajectory.

Named the quantum tunnel effect, the particles manifest itself in a number of known phenomena, according to the study.

For example, this explains the electron transport through quantum dots, fusion reactions that take place inside the stars, and nuclear radioactivity decay.

Experts from the Institute for Experimental Physics in the University of Innsbruck, Austria under Hanns-Christoph Nägerl analyzed a system of quantum particles tunnel through five potential barriers.

The study states that the researchers directed a gas of Cesium atoms to pass through multiple tunneling layers at temperatures above zero to ensure minimal kinetic energies.

Researchers theorized that the atoms would lose energy as they tunneled, increasingly lowering the chances of quantum tunneling for each successful barrier pass, in this experiment.

The researcher discovered that an atoms' tunneling energy is recycled as a discreet resonance called a "Bose enhancement," according to the study.

Observed particles were able to pass through five barriers, showing that under very specific circumstances, multiple-particle long-range tunneling is possible.

It is still unlikely that a person would be able to willfully pull this off, regardless of their genetic makeup, according to the study.

"Very similar to a massive object moving in the Earth's gravitational field, the tunneling atoms should lose potential energy when they move down the washboard," said Nägerl, according to a University of Innsbruck press release.

The study was published on June 13.

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