The scientists, however, were less successful in arriving at the same results when a third qubit was introduced.
In a development contradicting basic laws of physics, a team of scientists from Switzerland and the United States, led by researchers at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, showed how time can be reversed.
The study was published on March 13 in the journal Scientific Reports.
Speaking to Newsweek, lead researcher Gordey Lesovik, head of the Laboratory of the Physics of Quantum Information at the institute, said: “We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time.”
Arrow of time is the second law of Thermodynamics. It states “disorder” increases with time and can’t decrease. If it traverses in an opposite direction it would amount to objects moving back from a state of chaos to order.
The scientists showed how to reverse time through an experiment that involved using an algorithm on an IBM quantum computer to send a qubit (basic unit of quantum information) from a complex state to a simpler one.
To find out if time can spontaneously reverse itself, the quantum physicists decided to go for an individual particle and opted for a tiny fraction of a second. So, they studied one electron in interstellar space.
The scientists wanted to figure out the chances of observing an electron over a fraction of a second spontaneously localising into its immediate past. They then used the same method to reverse time using qubits.
To do so, they used an algorithm to convert qubits into a more complex pattern of ones and zeros. They then employed another programme to bring them back to their original state. Th qubits evolved backward, from chaos to order.
The study’s co-author Andrey Lebedev said: “Suppose the electron is localised when we begin observing it. This means that we are pretty sure about its position in space… The laws of quantum mechanics prevent us from knowing it with absolute precision, but we can outline a small region where the electron is localised.”The team of researchers, however, found difficulty in arriving at the same results when a third qubit; it introduced errors and the success rate of the process plummeted to around 50 percent.