Transit time of a freely falling quantum particle in a background gravitational field

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Using a model quantum clock, I evaluate an expression for the time of a non-relativistic quantum particle to transit a piecewise geodesic path in a background gravitational field with small spacetime curvature (gravity gradient), in the case in which the apparatus is in free fall. This calculation complements and extends an earlier one (Davies 2004) in which the apparatus is fixed to the surface of the Earth. The result confirms that, for particle velocities not too low, the quantum and classical transit times coincide, in conformity with the principle of equivalence. I also calculate the quantum corrections to the transit time when the de Broglie wavelengths are long enough to probe the spacetime curvature. The results are compared with the calculation of Chiao and Speliotopoulos (2003), who propose an experiment to measure the foregoing effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5677-5683
Number of pages7
JournalClassical and Quantum Gravity
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 21 2004
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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