9,476 research outputs found

    Reconcile Planck-scale discreteness and the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction

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    A Planck-scale minimal observable length appears in many approaches to quantum gravity. It is sometimes argued that this minimal length might conflict with Lorentz invariance, because a boosted observer could see the minimal length further Lorentz contracted. We show that this is not the case within loop quantum gravity. In loop quantum gravity the minimal length (more precisely, minimal area) does not appear as a fixed property of geometry, but rather as the minimal (nonzero) eigenvalue of a quantum observable. The boosted observer can see the same observable spectrum, with the same minimal area. What changes continuously in the boost transformation is not the value of the minimal length: it is the probability distribution of seeing one or the other of the discrete eigenvalues of the area. We discuss several difficulties associated with boosts and area measurement in quantum gravity. We compute the transformation of the area operator under a local boost, propose an explicit expression for the generator of local boosts and give the conditions under which its action is unitary.Comment: 12 pages, 3 figure

    The century of the incomplete revolution: searching for general relativistic quantum field theory

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    In fundamental physics, this has been the century of quantum mechanics and general relativity. It has also been the century of the long search for a conceptual framework capable of embracing the astonishing features of the world that have been revealed by these two ``first pieces of a conceptual revolution''. I discuss the general requirements on the mathematics and some specific developments towards the construction of such a framework. Examples of covariant constructions of (simple) generally relativistic quantum field theories have been obtained as topological quantum field theories, in nonperturbative zero-dimensional string theory and its higher dimensional generalizations, and as spin foam models. A canonical construction of a general relativistic quantum field theory is provided by loop quantum gravity. Remarkably, all these diverse approaches have turn out to be related, suggesting an intriguing general picture of general relativistic quantum physics.Comment: To appear in the Journal of Mathematical Physics 2000 Special Issu

    A simple background-independent hamiltonian quantum model

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    We study formulation and probabilistic interpretation of a simple general-relativistic hamiltonian quantum system. The system has no unitary evolution in background time. The quantum theory yields transition probabilities between measurable quantities (partial observables). These converge to the classical predictions in the ℏ→0\hbar\to 0 limit. Our main tool is the kernel of the projector on the solutions of Wheeler-deWitt equation, which we analyze in detail. It is a real quantity, which can be seen as a propagator that propagates "forward" as well as "backward" in a local parameter time. Individual quantum states, on the other hand, may contain only "forward propagating" components. The analysis sheds some light on the interpretation of background independent transition amplitudes in quantum gravity

    Graviton propagator from background-independent quantum gravity

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    We study the graviton propagator in euclidean loop quantum gravity, using the spinfoam formalism. We use boundary-amplitude and group-field-theory techniques, and compute one component of the propagator to first order, under a number of approximations, obtaining the correct spacetime dependence. In the large distance limit, the only term of the vertex amplitude that contributes is the exponential of the Regge action: the other terms, that have raised doubts on the physical viability of the model, are suppressed by the phase of the vacuum state, which is determined by the extrinsic geometry of the boundary.Comment: 6 pages. Substantially revised second version. Improved boundary state ansat

    The complete LQG propagator: II. Asymptotic behavior of the vertex

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    In a previous article we have show that there are difficulties in obtaining the correct graviton propagator from the loop-quantum-gravity dynamics defined by the Barrett-Crane vertex amplitude. Here we show that a vertex amplitude that depends nontrivially on the intertwiners can yield the correct propagator. We give an explicit example of asymptotic behavior of a vertex amplitude that gives the correct full graviton propagator in the large distance limit.Comment: 16 page

    Multiple-event probability in general-relativistic quantum mechanics

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    We discuss the definition of quantum probability in the context of "timeless" general--relativistic quantum mechanics. In particular, we study the probability of sequences of events, or multi-event probability. In conventional quantum mechanics this can be obtained by means of the ``wave function collapse" algorithm. We first point out certain difficulties of some natural definitions of multi-event probability, including the conditional probability widely considered in the literature. We then observe that multi-event probability can be reduced to single-event probability, by taking into account the quantum nature of the measuring apparatus. In fact, by exploiting the von-Neumann freedom of moving the quantum classical boundary, one can always trade a sequence of non-commuting quantum measurements at different times, with an ensemble of simultaneous commuting measurements on the joint system+apparatus system. This observation permits a formulation of quantum theory based only on single-event probability, where the results of the "wave function collapse" algorithm can nevertheless be recovered. The discussion bears also on the nature of the quantum collapse

    Relational evolution of the degrees of freedom of generally covariant quantum theories

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    We study the classical and quantum dynamics of generally covariant theories with vanishing a Hamiltonian and with a finite number of degrees of freedom. In particular, the geometric meaning of the full solution of the relational evolution of the degrees of freedom is displayed, which means the determination of the total number of evolving constants of motion required. Also a method to find evolving constants is proposed. The generalized Heinsenberg picture needs M time variables, as opposed to the Heisenberg picture of standard quantum mechanics where one time variable t is enough. As an application, we study the parameterized harmonic oscillator and the SL(2,R) model with one physical degree of freedom that mimics the constraint structure of general relativity where a Schrodinger equation emerges in its quantum dynamics.Comment: 25 pages, no figures, Latex file. Revised versio

    Spacetime as a quantum many-body system

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    Quantum gravity has become a fertile interface between gravitational physics and quantum many-body physics, with its double goal of identifying the microscopic constituents of the universe and their fundamental dynamics, and of understanding their collective properties and how spacetime and geometry themselves emerge from them at macroscopic scales. In this brief contribution, we outline the problem of quantum gravity from this emergent spacetime perspective, and discuss some examples in which ideas and methods from quantum many-body systems have found a central role in quantum gravity research.Comment: 15 pages; invited contribution to "Many-body approaches at different scales: A tribute to Norman H. March on the occasion of his 90th birthday", edited by G. G. N. Angilella and C. Amovilli (New York, Springer, 2017 - to appear

    Quantum Loop Representation for Fermions coupled to Einstein-Maxwell field

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    Quantization of the system comprising gravitational, fermionic and electromagnetic fields is developed in the loop representation. As a result we obtain a natural unified quantum theory. Gravitational field is treated in the framework of Ashtekar formalism; fermions are described by two Grassmann-valued fields. We define a C∗C^{*}-algebra of configurational variables whose generators are associated with oriented loops and curves; ``open'' states -- curves -- are necessary to embrace the fermionic degrees of freedom. Quantum representation space is constructed as a space of cylindrical functionals on the spectrum of this C∗C^{*}-algebra. Choosing the basis of ``loop'' states we describe the representation space as the space of oriented loops and curves; then configurational and momentum loop variables become in this basis the operators of creation and annihilation of loops and curves. The important difference of the representation constructed from the loop representation of pure gravity is that the momentum loop operators act in our case simply by joining loops in the only compatible with their orientaiton way, while in the case of pure gravity this action is more complicated.Comment: 28 pages, REVTeX 3.0, 15 uuencoded ps-figures. The construction of the representation has been changed so that the representation space became irreducible. One part is removed because it developed into a separate paper; some corrections adde

    The physical hamiltonian in nonperturbative quantum gravity

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    A quantum hamiltonian which evolves the gravitational field according to time as measured by constant surfaces of a scalar field is defined through a regularization procedure based on the loop representation, and is shown to be finite and diffeomorphism invariant. The problem of constructing this hamiltonian is reduced to a combinatorial and algebraic problem which involves the rearrangements of lines through the vertices of arbitrary graphs. This procedure also provides a construction of the hamiltonian constraint as a finite operator on the space of diffeomorphism invariant states as well as a construction of the operator corresponding to the spatial volume of the universe.Comment: Latex, 11 pages, no figures, CGPG/93/
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