Researchers, however, are far from achieving "time travel, or going back to the past, or reversing the principle of cause and effect", says scientist Henning Bostelmann at the U.K.'s University of York, which he acknowledged may be a "disappointment to science-fiction fans", per Newsweek.
Although scientists have yet to replicate the futuristic scenes of The Jetsons or the 1985 sci-fi classic Back to the Future, researchers from Moscow's Institute of Physics and Technology partnered with scientists in the US and Switzerland to "experimentally demonstrate time reversal - sending a qubit from a more complicated state to a simpler one", writes Newsweek.
In an experiment that would have challenged Doctor Who, researchers defied the second law of thermodynamics, which governs the direction of "time's arrow" from past to future.
The study's lead author Gordey Lesovik said, "This is one in a series of papers on the possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics".More news: Google Hardware makes cuts to laptop and tablet development, cancels products
The revelation completely contradicts the laws of physics, which suggests that time is linear and can only travel in one direction.
The so-called "time machine" is made up of electron qubits.
"We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time", said Lesovik.
Physicists may have discovered a real-life time machine - of sorts. "This is practically equivalent to the increasing disorder in a large scale system, for example, a billiard table-because of the second law of thermodynamics". For their research, scientists were curious if individual particles could impulsively reverse themselves. "The laws of quantum mechanics prevent us from knowing it with absolute precision, but we can outline a small region where the electron is localized".More news: Sega stops sales of Judgement in Japan following major actor’s arrest
To an outside observer, it looks as if time is running backwards.
An electron's physical position is defined by uncertainty, meaning that instead of being a concrete "point" it is a fuzzy state of probabilities smeared across a region of space. Provided that the "kick" has been delivered successfully, the program does not result in more chaos but rather rewinds the state of the qubits back into the past, the way a smeared electron would be localized or the billiard balls would retrace their trajectories in reverse playback, eventually forming a triangle. It worked out that across over the entire lifetime of the universe-13.7 billion years-observing 10 billion freshly localized electrons consistently, the reverse evolution of the particle's state would just happen once. A qubit is a unit of information described by a zero, one or can be a mix of both the states in which case it becomes a superposition. According to quantum laws, the simple passage of time will cause the computer to fall out of this order, so that the qubits are soon in a random assortment of ones, zeros, or both. The program modified the state of the quantum program in such a way that it went back from chaos to an ordered pattern.
The new experiment is like giving the pool table such a perfectly calculated kick that the balls rolled back into an orderly pyramid. They then ran the first program again, and were able to recover their original, zero-zero state about 85 percent of the time.
To put this concept to the test, the scientists formulated two separate hypothesis: Time reversal would require supersystem manipulation to occur and "in most cases", would not likely take place in nature. As more sophisticated devices are designed, the error rate is expected to drop. With this experiment, time reversal can help make quantum computers more accurate in the future.More news: Xbox Reveals Striking Limited Edition Phantom White Controller