Bas Hensen has won the NWO Physics Thesis Award 2017 with his thesis ‘Quantum Nonlocality with Spins in Diamond’. In his thesis, Hensen – who conducted his PhD research at QuTech – outlines the world’s first loophole-free Bell test. The test provided conclusive proof of the existence of quantum entanglement. The award carries a cash prize of 10,000 euros.
The international press reported the loophole-free Bell test in 2015, as it proved that Einstein’s views on quantum theory were incorrect. In 1935, the renowned physicist asked himself a fundamental question about our universe: could, as predicted by the theory of quantum mechanics, the observation of an object instantaneously affect another object, even if that object is on the other side of the galaxy? Einstein refused to accept this, referring to this quantum entanglement, in which a particle is directly influenced by a measurement conducted on an entangled partner particle, as ‘spooky action at a distance’. The Bell test conducted by the TU Delft researchers provided the first conclusive proof that such quantum entanglement does indeed exist, even if the particles in question are separated by a large distance.