Quantum superposition of spacetimes obeys Einstein's equivalence principle

Flaminia Giacomini, Časlav Brukner

We challenge the view that there is a basic conflict between the fundamental principles of Quantum Theory and General Relativity and, in particular, the fact that a superposition of massive bodies would lead to a violation of the Equivalence Principle. It has been argued that this violation implies that such a superposition must inevitably spontaneously collapse (like in the Diósi-Penrose model). We identify the origin of such an assertion in the impossibility of finding a local and classical reference frame in which Einstein's Equivalence Principle would hold. In contrast, we argue that the formulation of the Equivalence Principle can be generalized so that it holds for reference frames that are associated with quantum systems in a superposition of spacetimes. The core of this new formulation is the introduction of a quantum diffeomorphism to such Quantum Reference Frames. This procedure reconciles the principle of linear superposition in Quantum Theory with the principle of general covariance and the Equivalence Principle of General Relativity. Hence, it is not necessary to invoke a gravity-induced spontaneous state reduction when a massive body is prepared in a spatial superposition.

Quantum Optics, Quantum Nanophysics and Quantum Information
External organisation(s)
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology (VCQ), Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW)
AVS Quantum Science
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
103025 Quantum mechanics, 103028 Theory of relativity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Condensed Matter Physics, Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials, Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer Networks and Communications, Computational Theory and Mathematics, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
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