A team at the Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics is developing an experiment intended to test a seemingly insane idea that the third dimension doesn’t actually exist but is in fact a hologram created by the intertwining of time and depth at the Planck length.
This idea while seemingly insane is supported by the math, but to date there is no physical evidence to confirm it. That in itself is not surprising because we don’t have the tools to observe it. Craig Hogan, director of Fermilab says “You can’t perceive it because nothing ever travels faster than light, this holographic view is how the universe would look if you sat on a photon.”
Enter the Holographic Interferometer or Holometer. The Holometer is a machine designed to test this very idea. It works by setting up two distinct but cooperative Interferometers. A Holometer works by sending a beam of light down a vacuum where it hits a beam splitter that, you guessed it, splits the beam in two. The two beams then travel in separate directions before hitting a mirror and being bounced back.
Since the beams of light travel at a constant speed, when they come back together they should be in sync. Any tiny vibration would change the frequency of the waves causing them to be out of sync when they meet back at the origin point.
If this happens it would indicate a fuzziness of space-time similar to the fuzziness of an image when you zoom in too far, essentially a pixelation of reality. Sensors on the outside of the instrument will detect any vibrations and cancel them out ensuring that any discrepancies are in fact due to pixelation or fuzziness of space-time.
If successful this will be the first physical evidence and measure of the Planck length and would support Hogan’s notion of the holographic nature of the universe.
Fermilab is planning to begin gathering data next year.