Monday, January 15, 2018

Entanglement in loop quantum gravity

Tuesday, Nov 7th

Eugenio Bianchi, PennState
Title: Entanglement in loop quantum gravity 
PDF of the talk (9M)
Audio+Slides [.mp4 19MB]

By Jorge Pullin, LSU

Entanglement is one of the most fascinating new concepts introduced in quantum mechanics. When quantum systems interact, the resulting systems properties cannot be described by considering the properties of the individual systems. One needs to consider global properties of the set of systems as a whole. Not only one cannot reconstruct the properties of the whole from the properties of the constituent parts. It turns out that the properties of the constituent parts cannot be determined if one does not know the properties of the whole. Entanglement entropy is a quantity that measures "how much entanglement" there is in a set of quantum systems. This seminar dealt with the application of this concept to the quantum states of loop quantum gravity. Here one tries to understand how different regions of space become entangled with each other in a quantum geometry and how the entanglement entropy measures such entanglement. 

This is not a mere theoretical development. Quantum theory plays an important role in cosmology. We now know that the fluctuations we see in the cosmic microwave background radiation are the product of the evolution of the vacuum state of the inflaton field during inflation. If one assumes that before inflation the field was in a vacuum state and evolves it, the state develops non-trivial correlations that are precisely the ones observed in the cosmic background radiation fluctuations. 
The cosmic microwave background fluctuations. Credit: NASA/WMAP team.

The vacuum state of a quantum field is a highly entangled state. Therefore the correlations one observes in the cosmic microwave background are directly related to entanglement. This seminar raises the mesmerizing possibility that the particular type of entanglement that occurs in the states of loop quantum gravity could leave an observable imprint in the cosmic microwave background radiation. This occurs through their evolution from the big bounce that loop quantum cosmology replaces the big bang with  up to the beginning of inflation influencing the type of vacuum the inflaton starts in. 

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