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.
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences|
|Early online date||10 Aug 2011|
|Publication status||Published - 8 Jan 2012|
van Wezel, J., & Oosterkamp, T. H. (2012). A nanoscale experiment measuring gravity's role in breaking the unitarity of quantum dynamics. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 35-56. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspa.2011.0201