Bell correlations in a Bose-Einstein condensate

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Science  22 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6284, pp. 441-444
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad8665

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Correlating an atomic condensate

Parts of a quantum system can be more “correlated” than what is allowed in the everyday classical world: A measurement on one part of the system can immediately affect a spatially distant component. The strongest of such correlations, Bell correlations, have been detected in small systems containing two to a handful of particles. Schmied et al. used collective measurements to detect Bell correlations among the spins of 480 Rb atoms cooled to a condensed state. This many-body correlated state may be useful as a resource in quantum information processing.

Science, this issue p. 441


Characterizing many-body systems through the quantum correlations between their constituent particles is a major goal of quantum physics. Although entanglement is routinely observed in many systems, we report here the detection of stronger correlations—Bell correlations—between the spins of about 480 atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate. We derive a Bell correlation witness from a many-particle Bell inequality involving only one- and two-body correlation functions. Our measurement on a spin-squeezed state exceeds the threshold for Bell correlations by 3.8 standard deviations. Our work shows that the strongest possible nonclassical correlations are experimentally accessible in many-body systems and that they can be revealed by collective measurements.

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