12 September 2013 Testing quantum physics in space using optically trapped nanospheres
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Abstract
Recent developments in space technology like micro-propulsion systems for drag-free control, thermal shielding, ultra-stable laser sources and stable optical cavities set an ideal platform for quantum optomechanical exper- iments with optically trapped dielectric spheres. Here, we will provide an overview of the results of recent studies aiming at the realization of the space mission MAQRO to test the foundations of quantum physics in a parameter regime orders of magnitude beyond existing experiments. In particular, we will discuss DECIDE, which is an experiment to prepare and then study a Schrodinger-cat-type state, where a dielectric nanosphere of around 100 nm radius is prepared in a superposition of being in two clearly distinct positions at the same time. This superposition leads to double-slit-type interference, and the visibility of the interference pattern will be compared to the predictions of quantum theory. This approach allows for testing for possible deviations from quantum theory as our test objects approach macroscopic dimensions. With DECIDE, it will be possible to distinctly test several prominent theoretical models that predict such deviations, for example: the Diósi-Pensrose model, the continuous-spontaneous-localization model of Ghirardi, Rimini, Weber and Pearle, and the model of Károlyházy.
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R. Kaltenbaek, "Testing quantum physics in space using optically trapped nanospheres", Proc. SPIE 8810, Optical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation X, 88100B (12 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2027051; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2027051
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