Intrinsic Decoherence & Gravitation

24 06/2013

Monday, 24 Jun. 2013, 10:00 - 12:00

Presenter: Phlip C.E. Stamp, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Host: Anton Zeilinger
Where: IQOQI-Kitchen

Conventional decoherence (usually called ‘Environmental Decoherence’) involves correlations established between some quantum system and its environment. ‘Intrinsic decoherence’ is hypothesized as being an essential feature of Nature – its existence entails a breakdown of quantum mechanics.

I will begin by briefly reviewing (a) the fundamental conflict between Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, and (b) environmental decoherence, noting in particular that it can and does involve decoherence without dissipation (ie., pure phase decoherence).  I then discuss a theory in which correlations exist between different branches of the wave-function, mediated by gravitation (the ‘GR-Y’ theory). This theory is in principle testable in condensed matter experiments, some of which should be feasible in the very near future. The weak field regime of this theory (ie., the regime relevant to experimental predictions) is discussed in detail, along with predictions of intrinsic decoherence rates, for experiments in optomechanical systems.