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Massive quantum systems as interfaces of quantum mechanics and gravity

Sougato BoseIvette FuentesAndrew A. Geraci ...+5 Clara C. Wanjura
Nov 2023
The traditional view from particle physics is that quantum gravity effects should only become detectable at extremely high energies and small length scales. Due to the significant technological challenges involved, there has been limited progress in identifying experimentally detectable effects that can be accessed in the foreseeable future. However, in recent decades, the size and mass of quantum systems that can be controlled in the laboratory have reached unprecedented scales, enabled by advances in ground-state cooling and quantum-control techniques. Preparations of massive systems in quantum states paves the way for the explorations of a low-energy regime in which gravity can be both sourced and probed by quantum systems. Such approaches constitute an increasingly viable alternative to accelerator-based, laser-interferometric, torsion-balance, and cosmological tests of gravity. In this review, we provide an overview of proposals where massive quantum systems act as interfaces between quantum mechanics and gravity. We discuss conceptual difficulties in the theoretical description of quantum systems in the presence of gravity, review tools for modeling massive quantum systems in the laboratory, and provide an overview of the current state-of-the-art experimental landscape. Proposals covered in this review include, among others, precision tests of gravity, tests of gravitationally-induced wavefunction collapse and decoherence, as well as gravity-mediated entanglement. We conclude the review with an outlook and discussion of future questions.
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