A recent conjecture, called the mass-energy-information equivalence principle, proposed that information is equivalent to mass and energy and exists as a separate state of matter. In other words, stored information has mass and can be converted into energy, and a full hard drive is marginally heavier than an empty one.

A second conjecture calculates the total information capacity of the universe’s visible matter and, by extension, the capacity of each elementary particle. According to this second conjecture, all elementary particles store some information about themselves, and this stored information contributes to their total mass.

Vopson argued that these two conjectures imply the possibility of measuring stored information via a particle-antiparticle collision. He proposed one such experiment along with a prediction for the released photons.

“My prime objective was to identify and develop an experimental protocol suitable for testing the two information conjectures,” said author Melvin Vopson. “If particles do contain information, then this needs to conserve upon annihilation, producing some lower energy photons. I predicted the exact energy of the infrared photons resulting from this information erasure.”

According to the analysis, if the conjectures are true, an electron-positron collision should produce, in addition to two high-energy gamma rays, two infrared photons with wavelengths around 50 micrometers.

Vopson hopes this experiment will be conducted soon, and that his prediction is verified.

“The implications of this experimental confirmation are huge, as this would affect all branches of physics, expanding our understanding of the universe, without contradicting or violating any of the existing laws of physics,” said Vopson.

Source: “Experimental protocol for testing the mass-energy-information equivalence principle,” by Melvin M. Vopson, AIP Advances (2022). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0087175.