General relativistic effects in quantum interference of ''clocks''

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

Journal: Journal of Physics: Conference Series

Volume: 723

Year: 2016

DOI Number: 46030539

Link: Link to publication

Abstract:

Quantum mechanics and general relativity have been extensively and independently confirmed in many experiments. However, all experiments that measured the influence of gravity on quantum systems are still fully consistent with non-relativistic, Newtonian gravity. Here we discuss a novel effect in quantum interference experiments that can probe the interplay between quantum mechanics and general relativity. We consider interference of a ''clock'' - a particle with some evolving degrees of freedom - placed in a superposition of two different gravitational potentials. According to general relativity each amplitude of the superposition will experience a different gravitational time dilation. Due to quantum complementarity the visibility of quantum interference will thus drop to the extent to which the information about the location becomes available from the ''clock''. The clock can be implemented in an internal degree of freedom of a massive particle or in the position of a photon. The proposed experiment would thus provide the first test of quantum mechanics in curved background.

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