Quantum entanglement among quarks

Collisions of high energy particles produce “jets” – quarks, antiquarks, or gluons moving through the quantum vacuum. Due to the confinement property of strong interactions, quarks are never directly detected but instead fragment into many secondary particles. Scientists have long expected that as jets propagate through the confining quantum vacuum, they will modify that vacuum. Scientists have also proposed that the initial quark-antiquark pair may retain quantum entanglement, at least for some time. However, these problems could not be solved previously due to lack of appropriate theoretical and computational tools.

Time evolution of the quark-antiquark pair produced by high-energy particle collisions. The pair separates in space, producing additional quark-antiquark pairs, but it still maintains the quantum entanglement. Source: Florio A. et al. (2023)

That situation has changed with the advent of quantum computing methods. These long-standing problems in nuclear physics have been addressed now by a team of scientists that is collaborating with computing company NVIDIA.

The team addressed 1 jet production using quantum simulations. The team found that the propagating jets strongly modify the quantum vacuum—the quantum state with the lowest possible energy. In addition, the produced quarks retain quantum entanglement, the linkage between particles across distances, as expected.

The simulations have also revealed quantum entanglement among the jets. This entanglement can be detected in nuclear experiments. The results can stimulate experimental work on detecting entanglement. The work is also a step forward in quantum-inspired classical computing. It may result in the creation of new application-specific integrated circuits.


  1. Adrien Florio, David Frenklakh, Kazuki Ikeda, Dmitri Kharzeev, Vladimir Korepin, Shuzhe Shi, and Kwangmin Yu (2023) Real-Time Nonperturbative Dynamics of Jet Production in Schwinger Model: Quantum Entanglement and Vacuum Modification Phys. Rev. Lett. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.131.021902

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