However, in most cases it is extremely complicated to develop a quantum field theoretical model for a specific problem, especially if the system in question consists of many interacting particles.
Now a team from the Vienna University of Technology and the University of Heidelberg has developed methods with which these models can be directly obtained from nature. In this way, it is not only possible to measure the theory and compare the results to theoretical model predictions, but it is now, in a certain sense, possible to measure the theory itself. This should now shed new light on the complicated field of many-body quantum physics.
It is known that every quantum theory has to obey certain formal rules. For example, this may involve correlations, propagators, vertices, Feynman diagrams - the basic building blocks of every quantum physical model. The research team of the Vienna University of Technology and the University of Heidelberg has found a way to make these individual basic building blocks experimentally accessible. The experimental measurements result in an empirically obtained quantum theory for a many-body system, without having to work with paper and pencil.
"For years we have suspected that this is theoretically possible, but not everyone believed us that it actually works," says Jörg Schmiedmayer of the Vienna Centre of Quantum Science and Technology (VCQ) at the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics of the Vienna University of Technology. "Now we have shown that we were right, by looking at a special case where the theory can also be found and solved mathematically. Our measurement results provide exactly the same theory building blocks."
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