Research

Gravitationally-induced entanglement between two massive particles is sufficient evidence of quantum effects in gravity

  • Authors:

    Chiara Marletto, Vlatko Vedral

  • Journal:

    Physical Review Letters, Volume 119, Issue 24

  • Date:

    13 December 2017

  • DOI:

    https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.240402

  • Affiliations:

    Clarendon Laboratory, Department of Physics, University of Oxford (Marletto and Vedral) // Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore (Vedral)

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Abstract

All existing quantum-gravity proposals are extremely hard to test in practice. Quantum effects in the gravitational field are exceptionally small, unlike those in the electromagnetic field. The fundamental reason is that the gravitational coupling constant is about 43 orders of magnitude smaller than the fine structure constant, which governs light-matter interactions. For example, detecting gravitons—the hypothetical quanta of the gravitational field predicted by certain quantum-gravity proposals—is deemed to be practically impossible. Here we adopt a radically different, quantum-information-theoretic approach to testing quantum gravity. We propose witnessing quantumlike features in the gravitational field, by probing it with two masses each in a superposition of two locations. First, we prove that any system (e.g., a field) mediating entanglement between two quantum systems must be quantum. This argument is general and does not rely on any specific dynamics. Then, we propose an experiment to detect the entanglement generated between two masses via gravitational interaction. By our argument, the degree of entanglement between the masses is a witness of the field quantization. This experiment does not require any quantum control over gravity. It is also closer to realization than detecting gravitons or detecting quantum gravitational vacuum fluctuations.

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