Chinese physicists measure speed of Einstein’s ‘spooky action at a distance’: At least 10,000 times faster than light
A team of Chinese physicists have clocked the speed of spooky action at a distance — the seemingly instantaneous interaction between entangled quantum particles — at more than four orders of magnitude faster than light. Their equipment and methodology doesn’t allow for an exact speed, but four orders of magnitude puts the figure at around 3 trillion meters per second.
Spooky action at a distance was a term coined by Einstein to describe how entangled quantum particles seem to interact with each other instantaneously, over any distance, breaking the speed of light and thus relativity. As of our current understanding of quantum mechanics, though, it is impossible to send data using quantum entanglement, preserving the theory of relativity. A lot of work is being done in this area, though, and some physicists believe that faster-than-light communication might be possible with some clever manipulation of entangled particles.
Now, thanks to these Chinese physicists — the same ones who broke the quantum teleportation distance record last year — we know that spooky action at a distance has a lower bound of four orders of magnitude faster than light, or around 3 trillion meters per second. We say “at least,” because the physicists do not rule out that spooky action is actually instantaneous — but their testing equipment and methodology simply doesn’t allow them to get any more accurate.
Depiction of test setup