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July 31, 2023 to August 4, 2023
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
America/Toronto timezone

Talk 61 - Horizons are Watching You

Jul 31, 2023, 11:00 AM
30m
PI/1-100 - Theatre (Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)

PI/1-100 - Theatre

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

190

Speaker

Gautam Satishchandran (Princeton University)

Description

We show that if a massive (or charged) body is put in a quantum superposition of spatially separated states in the vicinity of any (Killing) horizon, the mere presence of the horizon will eventually destroy the coherence of the superposition in a finite time. This occurs because, in effect, the long-range fields sourced by the superposition register on the black hole horizon which forces the emission of entangling “soft gravitons/photons” through the horizon. This enables the horizon to harvest “which path” information about the superposition. We provide estimates of the decoherence time for such quantum superpositions in the presence of a black hole and cosmological horizon. Finally, we further sharpen and generalize this mechanism by recasting the gedankenexperiment in the language of (approximate) quantum error correction. This yields a complementary picture where the decoherence is due to an “eavesdropper” (Eve) in the black hole attempting to obtain "which path" information by measuring the long-range fields of the superposed body. We explicitly compute the quantum fidelity to determine the amount of information such an Eve can obtain and show, by the information-disturbance tradeoff, a direct relationship between the information gained by Eve and the decoherence of the superposition in the exterior. In particular, we show that the decoherence of the superposition corresponds to the "optimal" measurement made by Eve in the black hole interior.

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