Will Schrödinger’s cat fall on its feet?

Will Schrödinger’s cat fall on its feet?

Two physicists have proposed a conceptually new way of testing the foundational principle of General Relativity with a system of two entangled atoms.  

The weak equivalence principle, also known as the universality of free fall, is one of the most basic tenets of physics, and is one of the cornerstones of the theory of general relativity. While this principle is questioned by some quantum theories of gravity, the way and the level at which it should be violated remain elusive. Advances in the research on the equivalence principle are therefore expected from more accurate experimental tests, or by employing qualitatively new types of systems, such as antimatter or microscopic objects.

The researchers have devised an experiment to observe the free fall of an entangled state of two atoms of different mass. By adapting proven methods of quantum optics and atomic physics, they propose to produce a state of entangled Rubidium isotopes and to measure its acceleration in the Earth’s gravitational field.

The proposed experiment will, for the first time, enable an exploration of the interplay between entanglement and gravity for massive objects, and opens new avenues for studies on the relationship between quantum mechanics and general relativity.

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Figure: the free fall of two entangled atoms (left) is it different from that of two independent atoms (right)?