Testing the gravitational field generated by a quantum superposition

M. Carlesso, A. Bassi, M. Paternostro, H. Ulbricht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


What gravitational field is generated by a massive quantum system in a spatial superposition? Despite decades of intensive theoretical and experimental research, we still do not know the answer. On the experimental side, the difficulty lies in the fact that gravity is weak and requires large masses to be detectable. However, it becomes increasingly difficult to generate spatial quantum superpositions for increasingly large masses, in light of the stronger environmental effects on such systems. Clearly, a delicate balance between the need for strong gravitational effects and weak decoherence should be found. We show that such a trade off could be achieved in an optomechanics scenario that allows to witness whether the gravitational field generated by a quantum system in a spatial superposition is in a coherent superposition or not. We estimate the magnitude of the effect and show that it offers perspectives for observability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number093052
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd on behalf of the Institute of Physics and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.


  • Gravity
  • Optomechanics
  • Quantum gravity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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