Dephasing of a non-relativistic quantum particle due to a conformally fluctuating spacetime

Paolo M Bonifacio, Charles H. T. Wang, J. Tito Mendonca, Robert Bingham

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15 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the dephasing suffered by a non-relativistic quantum particle within a conformally fluctuating spacetime geometry. Starting from a minimally coupled massive Klein–Gordon field, we derive an effective Schrödinger equation in the non-relativistic limit. The wavefunction couples to gravity through an effective nonlinear potential induced by the conformal fluctuations. The quantum evolution is studied through a Dyson expansion scheme up to second order. We show that only the nonlinear part of the potential can induce dephasing. This happens through an exponential decay of the off-diagonal terms of the particle density matrix. The bath of conformal radiation is modeled in three dimensions and its statistical properties are described in terms of a general power spectral density. Vacuum fluctuations at a low energy domain are investigated by introducing an appropriate power spectral density and a general formula describing the loss of coherence is derived. This depends quadratically on the particle mass and on the inverse cube of a particle-dependent typical cutoff scale. Finally, the possibilities for experimental verification are discussed. It is shown that current interferometry experiments cannot detect such an effect. However this conclusion may improve by using high mass entangled quantum states.
Original languageEnglish
Article number145013
Number of pages30
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number14
Early online date26 Jun 2009
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2009


  • general relativity
  • conformal geometry
  • quantum decoherence


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