Weekly Papers on Quantum Foundations (18)

Author(s): N. Nikitin and K. Toms

In this paper we propose a time-independent equality and time-dependent inequality, suitable for an experimental test of the hypothesis of realism. The derivation of these relations is based on the concept of conditional probability and on Bayes’ theorem in the framework of Kolmogorov’s axiomatics o…
[Phys. Rev. A 95, 052103] Published Fri May 05, 2017

Authors: Xue-Feng WuJun-Jie WeiMi-Xiang LanHe GaoZi-Gao DaiPeter Mészáros

Einstein’s weak equivalence principle (WEP) states that any freely falling, uncharged test particle follows the same identical trajectory independent of its internal structure and composition. Since the polarization of a photon is considered to be part of its internal structure, we propose that polarized photons from astrophysical transients, such as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) and fast radio bursts (FRBs), can be used to constrain the accuracy of the WEP through the Shapiro time delay effect. Assuming that the arrival time delays of photons with different polarizations are mainly attributed to the gravitational potential of the Laniakea supercluster of galaxies, we show that a strict upper limit on the differences of the parametrized post-Newtonian parameter $\gamma$ value for the polarized optical emission of GRB 120308A is $\Delta\gamma<1.2\times10^{-10}$, for the polarized gamma-ray emission of GRB 100826A is $\Delta\gamma<1.2\times10^{-10}$, and for the polarized radio emission of FRB 150807 is $\Delta\gamma<2.2\times10^{-16}$. These are the first direct verifications of the WEP for multiband photons with different polarizations. In particular, the result from FRB 150807 provides the most stringent limit to date on a deviation from the WEP, improving by one order of magnitude the previous best result based on Crab pulsar photons with different energies.

Authors: Gianluca Calcagni

We show that the dimension of spacetime becomes complex-valued when its short-scale geometry is invariant under a discrete scaling symmetry. This characteristic can arise either in quantum gravities based on combinatorial or multifractal structures or as the partial breaking of continuous dilation symmetry in any conformal-invariant theory. With its infinite scale hierarchy, discrete scale invariance overlaps with the traditional separation between ultraviolet and infrared physics and it can leave an observable imprint in the cosmic microwave background (CMB). We discuss such imprint in the form of log oscillations and sharp features in the CMB primordial power spectrum.

Authors: Aurélien Barrau

Among the available quantum gravity proposals, string theory, loop quantum gravity, non-commutative geometry, group field theory, causal sets, asymptotic safety, causal dynamical triangulation, emergent gravity are among the best motivated models. As an introductory summary to this special issue of Comptes Rendus Physique, I explain how those different theories can be tested or constrained by cosmological observations.

Authors: Cristhiano DuarteGabriel Dias CarvalhoNadja K. BernadesFernando de Melo

Physics dares to describe Nature from elementary particles all the way up to cosmological objects like cluster of galaxies and black holes. Although a unified description for all this spectrum of events is desirable, an one-theory-fits-all would be highly impractical. To not get lost in unnecessary details, effective descriptions are mandatory. Here we analyze what are the dynamics that may emerge from a fully quantum description when one does not have access to all the degrees of freedom of a system. More concretely, we describe the properties of the dynamics that arise from Quantum Mechanics if one has only access to a coarse grained description of the system. We obtain that the effective channels are not necessarily of Kraus form, due to correlations between accessible and non-accessible degrees of freedom, and that the distance between two effective states may increase under the action of the effective channel. We expect our framework to be useful for addressing questions such as the thermalization of closed quantum systems, and the description of measurements in quantum mechanics.

Authors: Keiichi NagaoHolger Bech Nielsen

In the future-included real action theory whose path runs over not only past but also future, we demonstrate the theorem, which states that the normalized matrix element of a Hermitian operator $\hat{\cal O}$ defined in terms of the future state at the final time $T_B$ and the fixed past state at the initial time $T_A$ becomes real for the future state selected such that the absolute value of the transition amplitude from the past state to the future state is maximized. This is a special version of our previously proposed theorem for the future-included complex action theory. We find that though the maximization principle leads to the reality of the normalized matrix element in the future-included real action theory, it does not specify the future and past states so much as in the case of the future-included complex action theory. In addition, we argue that the normalized matrix element seems to be more natural than the usual expectation value. Thus we speculate that the functional integral formalism of quantum theory could be most elegant in the future-included complex action theory.

Bacciagaluppi, Guido and Crull, Elise and Maroney, O J E (2017) Jordan’s Derivation of Blackbody Fluctuations. [Preprint]
Earman, John (2017) Additivity Requirements in Classical and Quantum Probability. [Preprint]
Christian, Joy (2017) Quantum Correlations are Weaved by the Spinors of the Euclidean Primitives. [Preprint]

Matter-Wave Tractor Beams


on 2017-5-04 2:00pm GMT

Author(s): Alexey A. Gorlach, Maxim A. Gorlach, Andrei V. Lavrinenko, and Andrey Novitsky

Theory shows that the quantum-mechanical wave of a beam of particles can exert a pulling force on a small particle, just as other waves do.

[Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 180401] Published Thu May 04, 2017

Author(s): Wenchao Ma, Bin Chen, Ying Liu, Mengqi Wang, Xiangyu Ye, Fei Kong, Fazhan Shi, Shao-Ming Fei, and Jiangfeng Du

The uncertainty principle is considered to be one of the most striking features in quantum mechanics. In the textbook literature, uncertainty relations usually refer to the preparation uncertainty which imposes a limitation on the spread of measurement outcomes for a pair of noncommuting observables…
[Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 180402] Published Thu May 04, 2017


We discuss the problems of quantum theory (QT) complicating its merging with general relativity (GR). QT is treated as a general theory of micro-phenomena—a bunch of models. Quantum mechanics (QM) and quantum field theory (QFT) are the most widely known (but, e.g., Bohmian mechanics is also a part of QT). The basic problems of QM and QFT are considered in interrelation. For QM, we stress its nonrelativistic character and the presence of spooky action at a distance. For QFT, we highlight the old problem of infinities. And this is the main point of the paper: it is meaningless to try to unify QFT so heavily suffering of infinities with GR. We also highlight difficulties of the QFT-treatment of entanglement. We compare the QFT and QM based measurement theories by presenting both theoretical and experimental viewpoints. Then we discuss two basic mathematical constraints of both QM and QFT, namely, the use of real (and, hence, complex) numbers and the Hilbert state space. We briefly present non-archimedean and non-hilbertian approaches to QT and their consequences. Finally, we claim that, in spite of the Bell theorem, it is still possible to treat quantum phenomena on the basis of a classical-like causal theory. We present a random field model generating the QM and QFT formalisms. This emergence viewpoint can serve as the basis for unification of novel QT (may be totally different from presently powerful QM and QFT) and GR. (It may happen that the latter would also be revolutionary modified.)

Nature Physics 13, 518 (2017). doi:10.1038/nphys4126

Author: Alberto Moscatelli

Alberto Moscatelli surveys a series of experiments on the electron g-factor that marked the departure from the Dirac equation and contributed to the development of quantum electrodynamics.

Nature Physics 13, 419 (2017). doi:10.1038/nphys4134

Author: Yun Li

Publication date: Available online 29 April 2017
Source:Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Author(s): Iulian D. Toader

Authors: Job FeldbruggeJean-Luc LehnersNeil Turok

We identify a fundamental obstruction to any theory of the beginning of the universe as a semi-classical quantum process, describable using complex, smooth solutions of the classical Einstein equations. The no boundary and tunneling proposals are examples of such theories. We argue that the Lorentzian path integral for quantum cosmology is meaningful and, with the use of Picard-Lefschetz theory, provides a consistent definition of the semi-classical expansion. Framed in this way, the no boundary and tunneling proposals become identified, and the resulting framework is unique. Unfortunately, the Picard-Lefschetz approach shows that the primordial fluctuations are out of control: larger fluctuations receive a higher quantum mechanical weighting. We prove a general theorem to this effect, in a wide class of theories. A semi-classical description of the beginning of the universe as a regular tunneling event thus appears to be untenable.

Pitts, J. Brian (2017) Space-time Constructivism vs. Modal Provincialism: Or, How Special Relativistic Theories Needn’t Show Minkowski Chronogeometry. [Preprint]

Authors: Robert B. Griffiths

A solution to the second measurement problem, determining what prior microscopic properties can be inferred from measurement outcomes (“pointer positions”), is worked out for projective and generalized (POVM) measurements, using consistent histories. The result supports the idea that equipment properly designed and calibrated reveals the properties it was designed to measure. Applications include Einstein’s hemisphere and Wheeler’s delayed choice paradoxes, and a method for analyzing weak measurements without recourse to weak values. Quantum measurements are noncontextual in the original sense employed by Bell and Mermin: if $[A,B]=[A,C]=0,\, [B,C]\neq 0$, the outcome of an $A$ measurement does not depend on whether it is measured with $B$ or with $C$. An application to Bohm’s model of the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen situation suggests that a faulty understanding of quantum measurements is at the root of this paradox.


Diverse measurements indicate that entropy grows as the universe evolves, we analyze from a quantum point of view plausible scenarios that allow such increase.

Esfeld, Michael (2017) A proposal for a minimalist ontology. [Preprint]
Laudisa, Federico (2017) Stop making sense of Bell’s theorem and nonlocality? A reply to Stephen Boughn. [Preprint]

Article written by