The Principle of Equivalence, stating that all laws of physics take their special-relativistic form in any local inertial frame, lies at the core of General Relativity. Because of its fundamental status, this principle could be a very powerful guide in formulating physical laws at regimes where both gravitational and quantum effects are relevant. However, its formulation implicitly presupposes that reference frames are abstracted from classical systems (rods and clocks) and that the spacetime background is well defined. Here, we we generalise the Einstein Equivalence Principle to quantum reference frames (QRFs) and to superpositions of spacetimes. We build a unitary transformation to the QRF of a quantum system in curved spacetime, and in a superposition thereof. In both cases, a QRF can be found such that the metric looks locally flat. Hence, one cannot distinguish, with a local measurement, if the spacetime is flat or curved, or in a superposition of such spacetimes. This transformation identifies a Quantum Local Inertial Frame. These results extend the Principle of Equivalence to QRFs in a superposition of gravitational fields. Verifying this principle may pave a fruitful path to establishing solid conceptual grounds for a future theory of quantum gravity.


Talk Number PIRSA:21020014
Speaker Profile Flaminia Giacomini
Collection Quantum Gravity