General relativistic effects in quantum interference of photons

Author(s): M. Zych, F. M. Costa, I. Pikovski, T. Ralph, Č. Brukner

Journal: Class. Quantum Grav.

Volume: 29

Page(s): 224010

Year: 2012

DOI Number: 10.1088/0264-9381/29/22/224010

Link: Link to publication


Quantum mechanics and general relativity have been extensively and independently confirmed in many experiments. However, the interplay of the two theories has never been tested: all experiments that measured the influence of gravity on quantum systems are consistent with non-relativistic, Newtonian gravity. On the other hand, all tests of general relativity can be described within the framework of classical physics. Here we discuss a quantum interference experiment with single photons that can probe quantum mechanics in curved space-time. We consider a single photon traveling in superposition along two paths in an interferometer, with each arm experiencing a different gravitational time dilation. If the difference in the time dilations is comparable with the photon's coherence time, the visibility of the quantum interference is predicted to drop, while for shorter time dilations the effect of gravity will result only in a relative phase shift between the two arms. We discuss what aspects of the interplay between quantum mechanics and general relativity are probed in such experiments and analyze the experimental feasibility.


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