A universal test for gravitational decoherence
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Nature Communications, 2016, 7
- Issue Date:
© 2016 The Author(s). Quantum mechanics and the theory of gravity are presently not compatible. A particular question is whether gravity causes decoherence. Several models for gravitational decoherence have been proposed, not all of which can be described quantum mechanically. Since quantum mechanics may need to be modified, one may question the use of quantum mechanics as a calculational tool to draw conclusions from the data of experiments concerning gravity. Here we propose a general method to estimate gravitational decoherence in an experiment that allows us to draw conclusions in any physical theory where the no-signalling principle holds, even if quantum mechanics needs to be modified. As an example, we propose a concrete experiment using optomechanics. Our work raises the interesting question whether other properties of nature could similarly be established from experimental observations alone-that is, without already having a rather well-formed theory of nature to make sense of experimental data.
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