Opto-mechanical tests of Planck-scale physics
Time: Thu 2021-11-11 09.15 - 10.00
Lecturer: Prof. Igor Pikovski, Stockholm University
Abstract: One of the main challenges in physics today is to merge quantum theory and the theory of general relativity into a unified framework. The lack of experimental evidence of quantum gravitational effects thus far is a major hindrance. Yet, the quantization of space-time itself can have experimental implications: the existence of a minimal length scale is widely expected to result in a modification of the well-known quantum mechanical Heisenberg uncertainty relation. Here we discuss an opto-mechanical scheme that allows an experimental test of this conjecture by probing deformations of the canonical commutation relation of the center of mass mode of a massive mechanical oscillator. Our protocol utilizes quantum optical control and readout of the mechanical system to probe possible deviations from the quantum commutation relation even at the Planck scale. It thus opens a feasible route for tabletop experiments to test possible quantum gravitational phenomena.