The breakthrough came as they were able to go a fraction of a second into the past. It was discovered by researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) who teamed up with experts from the US and Switzerland. They discovered the time travel as they checked if time could spontaneously reverse itself for an individual particle and for a tiny fraction of a second.
The research was also able to calculate the probability that an electron in empty interstellar space will spontaneously travel back into its recent past according to the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Lead author Gordey Lesovik, head of the Laboratory of the Physics of Quantum Information Technology at MIPT, said: “This is one in a series of papers on the possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics.
“That law is closely related to the notion of the arrow of time that posits the one-way direction of time from the past to the future.
“We began by describing a so-called local perpetual motion machine of the second kind.
“Then, in December, we published a paper that discusses the violation of the second law via a device called a Maxwell’s demon.
“The most recent paper approaches the same problem from a third angle. We have artificially created a state that evolves in a direction opposite to that of the thermodynamic arrow of time.”
Study co-author Andrey Lebedev from MIPT and ETH Zurich said: “Suppose the electron is localised when we begin observing it.
“This means that we’re pretty sure about its position in space.
“The laws of quantum mechanics prevent us from knowing it with absolute precision, but we can outline a small region where the electron is localised.”The discovery contradicts the laws of physics, which suggests that time is linear and can only travel in one direction – forward.
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.
By using the computer, researchers were able to unscramble a set of electrons which was akin to pool balls on a table going back in to a starting triangle-formation.
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 time reversal achieved a success rate of 85 percent when two qubits were involved, according to the research.
However, the success rate plunged to 50 percent when three qubits were present.