Determinism Beyond Time Evolution

Physicists are increasingly beginning to take seriously the possibility of laws outside the traditional time-evolution paradigm; yet our understanding of determinism is still predicated on a forwards time-evolution picture, making it manifestly unsuited to the diverse range of research programmes in modern physics. In this article, we use a constraint-based framework to set out a generalization of determinism which does not presuppose temporal directedness, distinguishing between strong, weak and delocalised holistic determinism. We discuss some interesting consequences of these generalized notions of determinism, and we show that this approach sheds new light on the long-standing debate surrounding the nature of objective chance.

Random-Receiver Quantum Communication

We introduce the task of random-receiver quantum communication, in which a sender transmits a quantum message to a receiver chosen from a list of n spatially separated parties. The choice of receiver is unknown to the sender, but is known by the n parties, who coordinate their actions by exchanging classical messages. In normal conditions, random-receiver quantum communication requires a noiseless quantum communication channel from the sender to each of the n receivers. In contrast, we show that random-receiver quantum communication can take place through entanglement-breaking channels if the order of such channels is controlled by a quantum bit that is accessible through quantum measurements. Notably, this phenomenon cannot be mimicked by allowing free quantum communication between the sender and any subset of k

Einstein’s Equivalence principle for superpositions of gravitational fields and quantum reference frames

The Einstein Equivalence Principle (EEP), stating that all laws of physics take their special-relativistic form in any local inertial (classical) reference frame, lies at the core of general relativity. Because of its fundamental status, this principle could be a very powerful guide in formulating physical laws at regimes where both gravitational and quantum effects are relevant. The formulation of the EEP only holds when both matter systems and gravity are classical, and we do not know whether we should abandon or modify it when we consider quantum systems in a-possibly nonclassical-gravitational field. Here, we propose that the EEP is valid for a broader class of reference frames, namely Quantum Reference Frames (QRFs) associated to quantum systems. By imposing certain restrictions on the type of nonclassicality of the gravitational field, we develop a framework that enables us to formulate an extension of the EEP for such gravitational fields. This means that the EEP is valid in a much wider set of physical situations than what it is currently applied to, including those in which the gravitational field is in a quantum superposition state.

Gravitational Edge Modes, Coadjoint Orbits, and Hydrodynamics

The phase space of general relativity in a finite subregion is characterized by edge modes localized at the codimension-2 boundary, transforming under an infinite-dimensional group of symmetries. The quantization of this symmetry algebra is conjectured to be an important aspect of quantum gravity. As a step towards quantization, we derive a complete classification of the positive-area coadjoint orbits of this group for boundaries that are topologically a 2-sphere. This classification parallels Wigner’s famous classification of representations of the Poincar’e group since both groups have the structure of a semidirect product. We find that the total area is a Casimir of the algebra, analogous to mass in the Poincar’e group. A further infinite family of Casimirs can be constructed from the curvature of the normal bundle of the boundary surface. These arise as invariants of the little group, which is the group of area-preserving diffeomorphisms, and are the analogues of spin. Additionally, we show that the symmetry group of hydrodynamics appears as a reduction of the corner symmetries of general relativity. Coadjoint orbits of both groups are classified by the same set of invariants, and, in the case of the hydrodynamical group, the invariants are interpreted as the generalized enstrophies of the fluid.

Decoherence effects in non-classicality tests of gravity

The experimental observation of a clear quantum signature of gravity is believed to be out of the grasp of current technology. However, several recent promising proposals to test the possible existence of non-classical features of gravity seem to be accessible by the state-of-art table-top experiments. Among them, some aim at measuring the gravitationally induced entanglement between two masses which would be a distinct non-classical signature of gravity. We explicitly study, in two of these proposals, the effects of decoherence on the system’s dynamics by monitoring the corresponding degree of entanglement. We identify the required experimental conditions necessary to perform successfully the experiments. In parallel, we account also for the possible effects of the Continuous Spontaneous Localization (CSL) model, which is the most known among the models of spontaneous wavefunction collapse. We find that any value of the parameters of the CSL model would completely hinder the generation of gravitationally induced entanglement.

Quantum operations with indefinite time direction

The fundamental dynamics of quantum particles is neutral with respect to the arrow of time. And yet, our experiments are not: we observe quantum systems evolving from the past to the future, but not the other way round. A fundamental question is whether it is possible to conceive a broader set of operations that probe quantum processes in the backward direction, from the future to the past, or more generally, in a combination of the forward and backward directions. Here we introduce a mathematical framework for these operations, showing that some of them cannot be interpreted as random mixtures of operations that probe processes in a definite direction. As a concrete example, we construct an operation, called the quantum time flip, that probes an unknown dynamics in a quantum superposition of the forward and backward directions. This operation exhibits an information-theoretic advantage over all operations with definite direction. It can be realised probabilistically using quantum teleportation, and can be reproduced experimentally with photonic systems. More generally, we introduce a set of multipartite operations that include indefinite time direction as well as indefinite causal order, providing a framework for potential extensions of quantum theory.

Efficient Algorithms for Causal Order Discovery in Quantum Networks

Given black-boaccess to the input and output systems, we develop the first efficient quantum causal order discovery algorithm with polynomial query complexity with respect to the number of systems. We model the causal order with quantum combs, and our algorithms output the order of inputs and outputs that the given process is compatible with. Our algorithm searches for the last input and the last output in the causal order, removes them, and iteratively repeats the above procedure until we get the order of all inputs and outputs. Our method guarantees a polynomial running time for quantum combs with a low Kraus rank, namely processes with low noise and little information loss. For special cases where the causal order can be inferred from local observations, we also propose algorithms that have lower query complexity and only require local state preparation and local measurements. Our algorithms will provide efficient ways to detect and optimize available transmission paths in quantum communication networks, as well as methods to verify quantum circuits and to discover the latent structure of multipartite quantum systems.

Interference in the Heisenberg Picture of Quantum Field Theory, Local Elements of Reality and Fermions

We describe the quantum interference of a single photon in the Mach-Zehnder interfeQILab Rometer using the Heisenberg picture. Our purpose is to show that the description is local just like in the case of the classical electromagnetic field, the only difference being that the electric and the magnetic fields are, in the quantum case, operators (quantum observables). We then consider a single-electron Mach-Zehnder interfeQILab Rometer and explain what the appropriate Heisenberg picture treatment is in this case. Interestingly, the parity superselection rule forces us to treat the electron differently to the photon. A model using only local quantum observables of different fermionic modes, such as the current operator, is nevertheless still viable to describe phase acquisition. We discuss how to extend this local analysis to coupled fermionic and bosonic fields within the same local formalism of quantum electrodynamics as formulated in the Heisenberg picture.

Asymptotics of SL2C coherent invariant tensors

We study the semiclassical limit of a class of invariant tensors for infinite-dimensional unitary representations of $mathrm{SL}(2,mathbb{C})$ of the principal series, corresponding to generalized Clebsch-Gordan coefficients with $ngeq3$ legs. We find critical configurations of the quantum labels with a power-law decay of the invariants. They describe 3d polygons that can be deformed into one another via a Lorentz transformation. This is defined viewing the edge vectors of the polygons are the electric part of bivectors satisfying a (frame-dependent) relation between their electric and magnetic parts known as $gamma$-simplicity in the loop quantum gravity literature. The frame depends on the SU(2) spin labelling the basis elements of the invariants. We compute a saddle point approximation using the critical points and provide a leading-order approximation of the invariants. The power-law is universal if the SU(2) spins have their lowest value, and $n$-dependent otherwise. As a side result, we provide a compact formula for $gamma$-simplicity in arbitrary frames. The results have applications to the current EPRL model, but also to future research aiming at going beyond the use of fixed time gauge in spin foam models.

Aharonov-Casher and shielded Aharonov-Bohm effects with a quantum electromagnetic field

We use a covariant formalism that is capable of describing the electric and magnetic versions of the Aharonov-Bohm effect, as well as the Aharonov-Casher effect, through local interactions of charges and currents with the quantum electromagnetic field. By considering that only local interactions of a quantum particle with the quantum field can affect its behavior, we show that the magnetic Aharonov-Bohm effect must be present even if the solenoid generating the magnetic field is shielded by a perfect conductor, as experimentally demonstrated.