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Macroscopic quantum superpositions and quantum vacuum energy

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Title Macroscopic quantum superpositions and quantum vacuum energy
Period 06 / 2011 - 05 / 2016
Status Current
Research number OND1342518
Data Supplier NWO

Abstract

Quantum mechanics has been formulated about hundred years ago and to date there have been many experiments that supports this extraordinary theory. We have become familiar with the notions of quantum superpositions, field quantisation, entanglement and vacuum energy. It is however evident that quantum mechanics in the ?usual? 4 dimensional space-time structure has to be augmented or reconciled with the theory of general relativity and with concepts such as higher dimensional spaces and possibly new forms of matter and energy, in order to obtain deeper understanding of the origin of elementary objects and their interactions, and of the evolution of the universe as it is being observed with increasing precision. This proposal aims at experimental investigations of quantum superpositions of micron-size objects and of Casimir forces, resulting from vacuum energy, between superconducting mirrors, thus testing qQuantum mechanics has been formulated about hundred years ago and to date there have been many experiments that supports this extraordinary theory. We have become familiar with the notions of quantum superpositions, field quantisation, entanglement and vacuum energy. It is however evident that quantum mechanics in the ?usual? 4 dimensional space-time structure has to be augmented or reconciled with the theory of general relativity and with concepts such as higher dimensional spaces and possibly new forms of matter and energy in order to obtain deeper understanding of the origin of elementary objects and their interactions, and of the evolution of the universe as it is being observed with increasing precision. This proposal aims at experimental investigations of quantum superpositions of micron-size objects and of Casimir forces, resulting from vacuum energy, between superconducting mirrors, thus testing quantum mechanics in an entirely new regime where new physics could emerge. The experiments have to achieve unprecedented low-temperatures and mechanical stability of opto-mechanical structures. D. Bouwmeester has recently established a low-temperature infrastructure at the University of Leiden via a prestigious Marie-Curie Excellence Award and has support from the University of California at Santa Barbara in fabrication the exceptional opto-mechanical micro structures needed for the proposed research. The proposed research will build upon the gained experiences and technological progress made in the previous years. Apart from the truly fundamental interests the project is of significant importance for metrology. The experiments will be developed in collaboration with Leiden cryogenics, a world-leading company in milliKelvin cooling systems, with Janssen Precision Engineering, a company with unique expertise in low-temperature compatible nano-meter stepper motors, and with Advanced Thin Films, a world-leading company in optical elements.

Abstract (NL)

Ondanks de revolutionaire wetenschappelijke bijdrage van kwantummechanica is het de vraag hoe fundamenteel deze theorie is. Via metingen aan kleine spiegeltjes bij extreem lage temperaturen gaan de onderzoekers op zoek naar mogelijke grenzen van kwantummechanica en van 4-dimensionale ruimtetijd.

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Project leader Prof.dr. D. Bouwmeester

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