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Sougato Bose
University College London

A Table-top Testing of the Quantum Nature of Gravity: Assumptions, Implications and Practicalities of a Proposal

May 14, 2020
Abstract: A lack of empirical evidence has lead to a debate on whether gravity is a quantum entity. Motivated by this, I will present a feasible idea for such a test based on the principle that two objects cannot be entangled without a quantum mediator. I will show that despite the weakness of gravity, the phase evolution induced by the gravitational interaction of two micron size test masses in adjacent matter-wave interferometers can detectably entangle them even when they are placed far apart enough to keep Casimir-Polder forces at bay. A prescription for witnessing this entanglement, which certifies gravity as a quantum coherent mediator, is also provided and can be measured through simple spin correlations. Further, I clarify the assumptions underpinning the above proposal such as our reasonable definition of "classicality", as well as the crucial aspect of the locality of physical interactions. The role of off-shell processes is also highlighted to clarify what the mediators actually are according to the standard theory of quantum gravity. How the experiment sits within relativistic quantum field theory is clarified. Lastly, a list of practical challenges are noted.