Vlatko Vedral
University of Oxford

Interference in quantum field theory: detecting ghosts with phases

27 November 2022, 4pm CET

I intend to discuss the implications of the principle of locality for interference in quantum field theory. As an example, I will consider the interaction of two charges via a mediating quantum field and the resulting interference pattern, in the Lorenz gauge. Using the Heisenberg picture, I will claim that detecting relative phases or entanglement between two charges in an interference experiment is equivalent to accessing empirically the gauge degrees of freedom associated with the so-called ghost (scalar) modes of the field in the Lorenz gauge. These results imply that ghost modes are measurable and hence physically relevant, contrary to what is usually thought. They also raise interesting questions about the relation between the principle of locality and the principle of gauge-invariance. Our analysis applies also to linearised quantum gravity in the harmonic gauge, and hence has implications for the recently proposed entanglement-based witnesses of non-classicality in gravity.

Poster for Vlatko Vedral's QISS Virtual Seminar on 17 November at 4pm CET: Interference in QFT: detecting ghosts with phases