IAS Quantum Aspects of Black Holes Group Meeting

Decoherence of Quantum Superpositions Due to Black Holes vs. Ordinary Matter

Abstract: Recently it has been shown that black holes decohere quantum superpositions in their exterior, and suggested that this may be of fundamental importance for their quantum description [arXiv:2205.06279, arXiv:2301.00026, arXiv:2311.11461].  A central “dogma” in the modern study of black holes is that, when viewed from the outside, a black hole is described by an ordinary, unitarily evolving quantum system. In this talk we will replace the black hole by an ordinary quantum system and isolate the properties of the quantum system that are responsible for the decoherence effect. The effect boils down to the ability of the object to absorb low frequency fields. This will also allow us to compare the magnitude of the decoherence effects due to black holes versus more ordinary quantum systems. We will provide some examples of matter objects which are comparable to black holes with respect to the absorption of soft photons and gravitons.

Date & Time

April 04, 2024 | 11:00am – 12:00pm


Bloomberg Hall Physics Library


Anna Biggs, Princeton University