- Mar 2022
Melvin Vopson has proposed an experiment involving particle annihilation that could prove that information has mass, and by Einstein's mass-energy equivalence, information is also energy. If true, the experiment would also show that information is one of the states of matter.
The experiment doesn't need a particle accelerator, but instead uses slow positrons at thermal velocities.
Melvin Vopson is an information theory researcher at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.
A proof that information has mass (or is energy) may explain the idea of dark matter. Vopson's rough calculations indicate that 10^93 bits of information would explain all of the “missing” dark matter.
Vopson's 2022 AIP Advances paper would indicate that the smallest theoretical size of digital bits, presuming they are stable and exist on their own would become the smallest known building blocks of matter.
The width of digital bits today is between ten and 30 nanometers. Smaller physical bits could mean more densely packed storage devices.
Vopson proposes that a positron-electron annihilation should produce energy equivalent to the masses of the two particles. It should also produce an extra dash of energy: two infrared, low-energy photons of a specific wavelength (predicted to be about 50 microns), as a direct result of erasing the information content of the particles.
The mass-energy-information equivalence principle Vopson proposed in his 2019 AIP Advances paper assumes that a digital information bit is not just physical, but has a “finite and quantifiable mass while it stores information.” This very small mass is 3.19 × 1038 kilograms at room temperature.
For example, if you erase one terabyte of data from a storage device, it would decrease in mass by 2.5 × 1025 kilograms, a mass so small that it can only be compared to the mass of a proton, which is about 1.67 × 1027 kilograms.
In 1961, Rolf Landauer first proposed the idea that a bit is physical and has a well-defined energy. When one bit of information is erased, the bit dissipates a measurable amount of energy.