Universal decoherence due to gravitational time dilation

Pikovski, Igor, Zych, Magdalena, Costa, Fabio and Brukner, Caslav (2015) Universal decoherence due to gravitational time dilation. Nature Physics, 11 8: 668-672. doi:10.1038/nphys3366

Author Pikovski, Igor
Zych, Magdalena
Costa, Fabio
Brukner, Caslav
Title Universal decoherence due to gravitational time dilation
Journal name Nature Physics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1745-2481
Publication date 2015-08
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nphys3366
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 11
Issue 8
Start page 668
End page 672
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract The physics of low-energy quantum systems is usually studied without explicit consideration of the background spacetime. Phenomena inherent to quantum theory in curved spacetime, such as Hawking radiation, are typically assumed to be relevant only for extreme physical conditions: at high energies and in strong gravitational fields. Here we consider low-energy quantum mechanics in the presence of gravitational time dilation and show that the latter leads to the decoherence of quantum superpositions. Time dilation induces a universal coupling between the internal degrees of freedom and the centre of mass of a composite particle. The resulting correlations lead to decoherence in the particle position, even without any external environment. We also show that the weak time dilation on Earth is already sufficient to affect micrometre-scale objects. Gravity can therefore account for the emergence of classicality and this effect could in principle be tested in future matter-wave experiments.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mathematics and Physics
Official 2016 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 17 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 19 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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