# Geneva University speed of entanglement results

According to the newspaper Students at Geneva
University have found that "A signal passing
between entangled photons 18 km apart must
travel at least 10000 times faster than light"

Its the same problem about the 'speed' of wave function
collapse - there is no 'speed' parameter in the wave equation AFIK,
it is probability rays 'collapsing' not 'things' flying around the Universe FTL.
Secondly, the fact that one part of the wave packet collapses at the same time
as another part is not really a signal AFIK?

I assume 10000 times faster than was what their apparatus could manage.
Can we be sure of these results?

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
You need to provide a more complete citation than "according to the newspaper". We request people pay a bit more attention to the sources and how to cite them.

Furthermore, if you do a search in this forum, there have been several threads already in existence discussing this issue.

Zz.

Cthugha
According to the newspaper Students at Geneva
University have found that "A signal passing
between entangled photons 18 km apart must
travel at least 10000 times faster than light"

Its the same problem about the 'speed' of wave function
collapse - there is no 'speed' parameter in the wave equation AFIK,
it is probability rays 'collapsing' not 'things' flying around the Universe FTL.
Secondly, the fact that one part of the wave packet collapses at the same time
as another part is not really a signal AFIK?

I assume 10000 times faster than was what their apparatus could manage.
Can we be sure of these results?

I suppose you mean the article published in Nature today (Testing the speed of 'spooky action at a distance' by Daniel Salart, Augustin Baas, Cyril Branciard, Nicolas Gisin & Hugo Zbinden, Nature 454, 7206, p 816), but it seems you did not get the main point.

The point is: there are some theories, which propose that entanglement is indeed instantaneous and other theories, which propose, there is some "spooky action at a distance", which travels faster than light and needs some preferred frame, which is usually not observable experimentally (like de Broglie-Bohm-like theories). Now the only point of this paper is: if there is such spooky ftl action, there is a very high lower speed limit for it.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
I suppose you mean the article published in Nature today (Testing the speed of 'spooky action at a distance' by Daniel Salart, Augustin Baas, Cyril Branciard, Nicolas Gisin & Hugo Zbinden, Nature 454, 7206, p 816), but it seems you did not get the main point.

The point is: there are some theories, which propose that entanglement is indeed instantaneous and other theories, which propose, there is some "spooky action at a distance", which travels faster than light and needs some preferred frame, which is usually not observable experimentally (like de Broglie-Bohm-like theories). Now the only point of this paper is: if there is such spooky ftl action, there is a very high lower speed limit for it.

... or if we go by what http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/813/3", there is no signal going in between these two, and that there's an intrinsic connection instead.

I have posted the https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1834961&postcount=72" in the Noteworthy Papers thread.

Zz.

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I don't think there is or has ever been any doubt that if a signal were behind entanglement it would have to travel faster than light and backwards in time, which is why there's most likely no signal.

I don't think there is or has ever been any doubt that if a signal were behind entanglement it would have to travel faster than light and backwards in time, which is why there's most likely no signal.

I never really got how entanglement was "spooky action at a distance". So you have correlated pieces of information being sent in opposite directions at the speed of light. How does that provide faster than light information from one side to another?

I never really got how entanglement was "spooky action at a distance". So you have correlated pieces of information being sent in opposite directions at the speed of light. How does that provide faster than light information from one side to another?

At an understanding level I think you want to know, so...

Say we had 100 entangled photons stored here and the 100 entangled partners stored
5000 miles away in metaphorical boxes, labelled 0 to 100.
If we measure the polarization of each photon here, then we would know the polarization of each photon at the remote location (its correlated). So the researchers at each end would know the sequence of polarizations of all the photons the 100 boxes. Is that transmission of information?, not really, imo, because we cannot specify that sequence we can just observe it and write down the answers.

But the exact, unique sequence of polarizations was received by the partner faster than light - so that 'information' was FTL.

If we could force our entangled photons to collapse at a certain angles, instead of randomly, then we could send information, because the partner would receive the complimentary angles. So 45 degrees followed by 65 followed by 24 (etc to 100) could spell out letters and that is clearly information as we know it.

If we could force our entangled photons to collapse at a certain angles, instead of randomly, then we could send information, because the partner would receive the complimentary angles. So 45 degrees followed by 65 followed by 24 (etc to 100) could spell out letters and that is clearly information as we know it.

In other words, we'd have to bypass the probablistic nature of quantum measurements? Good luck with that.

Well that truly would raise interesting prospects wouldn't it? Of course, most likely anything you could do to "force" the particle to have a particular spin or polarization would itself be a measurement that would destroy the entanglement.

MWI at least provides you a potential "out" here - hypothetically, if it were possible to choose "which" universe you wanted to go into, you could thereby ensure that you went into the one where your partner received the message (i.e., had the experimental result) you wanted him to have. This would not be FTL communication, so much as it would be forcing what would otherwise be a highly improbable event.

Oh geeze, let the Douglas Adams jokes begin.

In other words, we'd have to bypass the probablistic nature of quantum measurements? Good luck with that.

We would only have to alter the collapse probability at one end of one of the entangled particle's wave packet by a very slight amount - say the 5th decimal place for it to show up statistically at the remote location instantly -over a large number of samples, of course.

Since the two particles are remote it is possible to work on one just of them. I find it hard to believe that an extended wave packet (e.g. from two entangled particles) is completely immune to having its probabilities altered at every location with all the high power colliders and fields we have available. Even a minute change would be enough.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
We would only have to alter the collapse probability at one end of one of the entangled particle's wave packet by a very slight amount - say the 5th decimal place for it to show up statistically at the remote location instantly -over a large number of samples, of course.

Since the two particles are remote it is possible to work on one just of them. I find it hard to believe that an extended wave packet (e.g. from two entangled particles) is completely immune to having its probabilities altered at every location with all the high power colliders and fields we have available. Even a minute change would be enough.

You seem to forget that you are dealing with the quantum superposition here. Unless you have something concrete to base this on, I suggest you re-read the https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=5374" regarding speculative posts.

Zz.

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You seem to forget that you are dealing with the quantum superposition here. Unless you have something concrete to base this on, I suggest you re-read the Guidelines regarding speculative posts.

Zz.

Its officially recognised that the theory of entanglement needs new ideas.

There is nothing to prevent actions on individual superposed paths and we need a forum to discuss openly issues. I suggest you contribute in a proactive manner rather than being reactive. Also, I can get research funding pointing in that direction.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Its officially recognised that the theory of entanglement needs new ideas.

There is nothing to prevent actions on individual superposed paths and we need a forum to discuss openly issues. I suggest you contribute in a proactive manner rather than being reactive. Also, I can get research funding pointing in that direction.

I never said anything about research into quantum entanglement. The whole area of studying the Schrodinger Cat-states is doing just that. I have made plenty of "contribution" towards such discussion here if you simply look. However, per the guidelines that you have agreed to, if you are making guesswork without any valid peer-reviewed citation as the basis, then you are making unfounded speculation. If what you've said is based on published work, then you should cite them clearly.

If you wish to work out your own personal theory, then that's what we have the IR forum for.

Zz.

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LaserMind,
I think you're not quite understanding entanglement. The probability of a single unpolarized photon passing a polarizer is always 50% no matter what you do to it. If you "polarize" it - which really means throw out all the photons that wouldn't pass a particular polarizer - you do indeed alter the odds of passing particular polarizers down the line, but you also destroy any entanglement that existed between that photon and any other. In other words, what happens to photon A after the initial measurement will have no relationship with what happens to A'. The link has been broken, so to speak. So what you're suggesting is conceptually not possible.

... or if we go by what http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/813/3", there is no signal going in between these two, and that there's an intrinsic connection instead.

I have posted the https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1834961&postcount=72" in the Noteworthy Papers thread.

Zz.

Zapper, I know you're just quoting Sean Carroll when you say that "there's an intrinsic connection", but isn't this term ("intrinsic connnection") a little too ill defined for professional physicists to be using to explain/describe something? I ask because when I search google for that term, the search results were... well, of questional material. And I couldn't find an explanation on google scholar either. So basically, I'm wondering if you have a peer reviewed link to an article discussing what "intrinsic connection" means.

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LaserMind,
If you "polarize" it - which really means throw out all the photons that wouldn't pass a particular polarizer - you do indeed alter the odds of passing particular polarizers down the line, but you also destroy any entanglement that existed between that photon and any other. So what you're suggesting is conceptually not possible.

I am suggesting the wave packet is acted on before a polarization filter is reached (say, by very strong gravity, electric field etc), - and this action does not collapse the wave function immediately - then the entangled, remote, twin particle should be affected as its part of the same wave packet and the combination is still entangled.

It may be that nothing at all will change an entangled wave packet's state probabilities without collapsing it, but there again there is a chance.

I also read the 'intrinsic connection' of entangled particles in the reference above telling me they had not much idea as to a physical model and many admit it honestly.

I am suggesting the wave packet is acted on before a polarization filter is reached (say, by very strong gravity, electric field etc), - and this action does not collapse the wave function immediately - then the entangled, remote, twin particle should be affected as its part of the same wave packet and the combination is still entangled.

It may be that nothing at all will change an entangled wave packet's state probabilities without collapsing it, but there again there is a chance.
"Collapsing" and "change the probabilities" is the same thing. Therefore what you are suggesting is, by definition, impossible. *Anything* that changes the probabilities of a given variable of one will cause the two to no longer be entangled as to that variable. So even if you could artificially change the polarization of a photon in mid-flight (something conceptually impossible for other reasons, namely because it has no well-defined polarization in mid-flight) then the results of the subsequent measurements on both will no longer show entanglement.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Zapper, I know you're just quoting Sean Carroll when you say that "there's an intrinsic connection", but isn't this term ("intrinsic connnection") a little too ill defined for professional physicists to be using to explain/describe something? I ask because when I search google for that term, the search results were... well, of questional material. And I couldn't find an explanation on google scholar either. So basically, I'm wondering if you have a peer reviewed link to an article discussing what "intrinsic connection" means.

It's one of those things that we don't have an explanation for as of yet, like "intrinsic charge" and "intrinsic spin". These properties come with the whole show and we currently have no explanation for the origin. So quantum entanglement would be an intrinsic property (i.e. it is just there) of the system, in this case, a bipartite photon state. This appears to be what Sean Carroll is saying, and within the framework of QM as it is (i.e. with no signal of any kind, be it hidden variables or not), is also what QM is implying.

Not sure if this is a satisfactory explanation. I doubt that anyone can go beyond that at the moment with any degree of certainty.

Zz.

I suppose you mean the article published in Nature today (Testing the speed of 'spooky action at a distance' by Daniel Salart, Augustin Baas, Cyril Branciard, Nicolas Gisin & Hugo Zbinden, Nature 454, 7206, p 816), but it seems you did not get the main point.

The point is: there are some theories, which propose that entanglement is indeed instantaneous and other theories, which propose, there is some "spooky action at a distance", which travels faster than light and needs some preferred frame, which is usually not observable experimentally (like de Broglie-Bohm-like theories). Now the only point of this paper is: if there is such spooky ftl action, there is a very high lower speed limit for it.

Firstly apologies for raising this thread from the dead. However I was trying to understand the article in question and have a quick question. Question is....

Could someone please explain what is the need for this reference frame? And also what is special about it? Is it that it is a non-inertial frame, which then does not place the speed of light limit for information transer?

DrChinese
Gold Member
Could someone please explain what is the need for this reference frame? And also what is special about it? Is it that it is a non-inertial frame, which then does not place the speed of light limit for information transer?

Generally, Bohmian type theories (also called dBB or pilot wave theories) have a preferred rest frame as a requirement. These are the most common theories that have instantaneous or FTL influences. The concept of the experiment includes trying to place limits on what these - or other potential theories - could look like.

The experiment itself does not rule out Bohmian theories, although there is some disagreement as to the implications. Clearly, instantaneous propagation is faster than the observed lower limit.

In conclusion, we performed a Bell experiment using entangled
photons between two villages separated by 18 km and approximately
east–west oriented, with the source located precisely in the middle.
The rotation of the Earth allowed us to test all possible hypothetically
privileged frames over a period of 24 hours. Two-photon interference
fringes with visibilities well above the threshold set by the Bell
inequality were observed at all times of day. From these observations
we conclude that the nonlocal correlations observed here and in
previous experiments1 are indeed truly nonlocal. To maintain an
explanation based on spooky action at a distance we would have to
assume that the spooky action propagates at speeds even greater than
the bounds obtained in our experiment.

The above is the conclusion from the article. Trying to make sense of that.....

Does it simply say that, non-local correlation (i.e. occuring at speeds greater than c) was definitely observed, and, the speeds are greater than those in the experiment(as you said). Also what do they mean by two photon interference though? I thought the photons were sent to two different places. Yet they interfere? Also what does this mean for special relativity?

Also, regarding the preferred rest frame requirement, rest frame of what? And does this mean laws of physics are different in different frames?

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DrChinese
Gold Member
In conclusion, we performed a Bell experiment using entangled
photons between two villages separated by 18 km and approximately
east–west oriented, with the source located precisely in the middle.
The rotation of the Earth allowed us to test all possible hypothetically
privileged frames over a period of 24 hours. Two-photon interference
fringes with visibilities well above the threshold set by the Bell
inequality were observed at all times of day. From these observations
we conclude that the nonlocal correlations observed here and in
previous experiments1 are indeed truly nonlocal. To maintain an
explanation based on spooky action at a distance we would have to
assume that the spooky action propagates at speeds even greater than
the bounds obtained in our experiment.

The above is the conclusion from the article. Trying to make sense of that.....

1. Does it simply say that, non-local correlation (i.e. occuring at speeds greater than c) was definitely observed, and, the speeds are greater than those in the experiment(as you said).

2. Also what do they mean by two photon interference though? I thought the photons were sent to two different places. Yet they interfere?

3. Also what does this mean for special relativity?

4. Also, regarding the preferred rest frame requirement, rest frame of what? And does this mean laws of physics are different in different frames?

1. IF the cause of Bell type results is due to issues of non-locality (which was not proven by this experiment), THEN the non-locality must involve action-at-a-distance in excess of 10,000c. (Bell type results could alternately be due to non-realism rather than non-locality.)

2. There are a number of ways to demonstrate violation of a Bell inequality, and this is one (not a double slit setup, interferometers were used). The photons are detected in different places.

3. That is a subject for a separate thread, and there have been plenty on this alone!

4. Rest frame of the universe, assuming there was one. There was no evidence of one detected, although that does not disprove its existence.

1. IF the cause of Bell type results is due to issues of non-locality (which was not proven by this experiment), THEN the non-locality must involve action-at-a-distance in excess of 10,000c. (Bell type results could alternately be due to non-realism rather than non-locality.)

Ok I am a bit confused by that. Is that your interpretation, or the conclusion of the article?

After all, the article say,... "From these observations we conclude that the nonlocal correlations observed here and in previous experiments are indeed truly nonlocal."

DrChinese
Gold Member
Ok I am a bit confused by that. Is that your interpretation, or the conclusion of the article?

After all, the article say,... "From these observations we conclude that the nonlocal correlations observed here and in previous experiments are indeed truly nonlocal."

The generally accepted science is that Bell test results prove either non-locality or non-realism (no hidden variables). This experiment did not alter that.

Were I to be writing an abstract for the article in question, as I am meant to as part of a course in communication skills. Could you or someone please check the following captures the gist of the article.

A Bell test of quantum correlations assuming a “superluminal influence” as responsible was carried out. By considering all possible hypothetically privileged reference frames, and assuming the speed of earth in this reference frame to be lower than that of light by a factor 10^3, it was determined the “superluminal influence” would need to exceed the speed of light at a minimum by a factor 10^4.

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