A nanoscale experiment measuring gravity's role in breaking the unitarity of quantum dynamics

Jasper van Wezel, Tjerk H. Oosterkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Modern, state-of-the-art nanomechanical devices are capable of creating spatial superpositions that are massive enough to begin to experimentally access the quantum to classical crossover, and thus force us to consider the possible ways in which the usual quantum dynamics may be affected. One recent theoretical proposal describes the crossover from unitary quantum mechanics to classical dynamics as a form of spontaneous symmetry breaking. Here, we propose a specific experimental set-up capable of identifying the source of unitarity breaking in such a mechanism. The experiment is aimed specifically at clarifying the role played by gravity, and distinguishes the resulting dynamics from that suggested by alternative scenarios for the quantum to classical crossover. We give both a theoretical description of the expected dynamics, and a discussion of the involved experimental parameter values and the proposed experimental protocol.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-56
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Early online date10 Aug 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2012

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