Nanomechanical Quantum Limits

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Science  02 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5667, pp. 56-57
DOI: 10.1126/science.1095768

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Quantum effects usually manifest themselves only in the microscopic world of atoms, whereas macroscopic objects of the everyday world follow the classical laws of Newtonian mechanics. But can large objects also behave quantum mechanically? In his Perspective, Blencowe discusses work reported in the same issue by LaHaye et al . on attempts to observe the phenomenon of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle in a relatively large vibrating beam. Although still small by everyday standards, the microfabricated beam consists of about 10atoms. The measurements indicate that the apparatus is within striking distance of direct observation of quantum fluctuations.