The revelation completely contradicts the laws of physics, which suggests that time is linear and can only travel in one direction. However, the quantum computer can be described as a semi-time machine and has defied the second law of thermodynamics, which is the arrow of time. Using the quantum computer, researchers were essentially able to unscramble a set of electrons which was akin to pool balls on a table going back in to a starting triangle-formation.
In the odd world of quantum physics, which even the top experts admit they struggle to understand, this meant anyone watching the reverse of electrons essentially watched time go backwards.
Lead researcher Dr Gordey Lesovik, who heads the Laboratory of the Physics of Quantum Information at the Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology (MIPT), said: “We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time.”
The so-called “time machine” is made up of electron qubits.
Qubits are units of information which are described by a “one”, a “zero”, or a mixed “superposition” of both states.
The experiment saw an “evolution program” launched which essentially muddled up all the information of the qubits until order was lost, creating chaos or ‘entropy’.
A later program then modified the state of the quantum computer so that it ran backwards, losing its entropy.
The time reversal achieved a success rate of 85 percent when two qubits were involved, according to the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.
However, the success rate jumped to 50 percent when three qubits were present.
The researchers state this experiment could be the basis for successful quantum computers in the future.
Dr Lesovik added: “Our algorithm could be updated and used to test programmes written for quantum computers and eliminate noise and errors.”
However, if you still do not fully understand, no need to fret – quantum mechanics is notoriously difficult to understand, and even the best brains in the world still cannot fully grasp it.
The late Richard Feynman, who is considered one of the godfathers of quantum physics, once said: “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics”.