Gravity Alters the Quantum Nature of Particles

June 16, 2015
Illustration of a molecule in the presence of gravitational time dilation

Illustration of a molecule in the presence of gravitational time dilation. The molecule is in a quantum superposition of being in several places at the same time, but time dilation destroys this quantum phenomenon. Credit: Igor Pikovski.

Harvard Physics postdoc and ITAMP fellow Igor Pikovski is the lead author of a Nature Physics article describing a surprising link between gravity and quantum mechanics. In this article, the authors show the way gravitational time dilation leads to the decoherence of quantum superpositions and the emergence of classicality. They also show that the weak time dilation on Earth is already sufficient to affect micrometre-scale objects.

See I. Pikovski, M. Zych, F. Costa & Č. Brukner, "Universal Decoherence Due to Gravitational Time Dilation," Nature Physics 15 June 2015 | doi:10.1038/nphys3366. Also read "Einstein Saves the Quantum Cat" on physics.org.