Determining Gravitational Decoherence

Quantum coherence is a very important concept in physics. Since all particles have wave like properties at the quantum scale being in phase with each other can create unique effects. Most manifestations of quantum physics in the macro realm are the result of quantum coherence. Lasers, superconductivity and superfluidity would all be impossible without the cooperation of almost all particles in their respective systems. Many theoretical and mathematical methods only work assuming some level of coherence in an area and this is what today’s news is all about.

The big question that still needs to be answered is whether quantum mechanics and gravitation can be conjoined in a reasonable way. But it is very possible that the presence of gravity automatically forces quantum systems to lose some coherence. Models for gravitational decoherence are known but not all of these predictions use the current quantum model. If experiments are performed where gravity plays a major factor is it then reasonable to use quantum mechanics as a mathematical process to reach a valid conclusion? A paper has recently been published which describes a method evaluating the decoherence generated no matter what the source of the decoherence is. By maintaining a control sample it can later be compared with the sample lacking coherence to see the difference. Then a third sample is gradually altered in an attempt to reach perfect entanglement with the control, the decoherence being a measure of how well this can be done. The theory is very general and so can hopefully be applied even in modified quantum theories without hindrance.


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