(ScientificAmerican) A new paper from a group led by the quantum physicist Chiara Marletto at the University of Oxford is claiming successful entanglement of bacteria with photons—particles of light. “Our models show that this phenomenon being recorded is a signature of entanglement between light and certain degrees of freedom inside the bacteria,” she says.
This is the first time such an effect has been glimpsed in a living organism. “It certainly is key to demonstrating that we are some way toward the idea of a ‘Schrödinger’s bacterium,’ if you will,” said study’s co-author Tristan Farrow, also of Oxford. Two caveats are cited: 1) The evidence for entanglement in this experiment is circumstantial, dependent on how one chooses to interpret the light trickling through and out of the cavity-confined bacteria; 2) the energies of the bacteria and the photon were measured collectively, not independently.
For many experts, quantum biology’s transition from theoretical dream to tangible reality is a question of when, not if and this lengthy Scientific American recount is worth a read as the “When” approaches.