Observing the spontaneous breakdown of unitarity

Jasper van Wezel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


During the past decade, the experimental development of being able to create ever larger and heavier quantum superpositions has brought the discussion of the connection between microscopic quantum mechanics and macroscopic classical physics back to the forefront of physical research. Under equilibrium conditions this connection is in fact well understood in terms of the mechanism of spontaneous symmetry breaking, while the emergence of classical dynamics can be described within an ensemble averaged description in terms of decoherence. The remaining realm of individual-state quantum dynamics in the thermodynamic limit was addressed in a recent paper proposing that the unitarity of quantum mechanical time evolution in macroscopic objects may be susceptible to a spontaneous breakdown. Here we will discuss the implications of this theory of spontaneous unitarity breaking for the modern experiments involving truely macroscopic Schrödinger cat states.
Original languageEnglish
Article number042225
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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