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Physics  2011 

A proposal for testing Quantum Gravity in the lab

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.84.044013

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Attempts to formulate a quantum theory of gravitation are collectively known as {\it quantum gravity}. Various approaches to quantum gravity such as string theory and loop quantum gravity, as well as black hole physics and doubly special relativity theories predict a minimum measurable length, or a maximum observable momentum, and related modifications of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to a so-called generalized uncertainty principle (GUP). We have proposed a GUP consistent with string theory, black hole physics and doubly special relativity theories and have showed that this modifies all quantum mechanical Hamiltonians. When applied to an elementary particle, it suggests that the space that confines it must be quantized, and in fact that all measurable lengths are quantized in units of a fundamental length (which can be the Planck length). On the one hand, this may signal the breakdown of the spacetime continuum picture near that scale, and on the other hand, it can predict an upper bound on the quantum gravity parameter in the GUP, from current observations. Furthermore, such fundamental discreteness of space may have observable consequences at length scales much larger than the Planck scale. Because this influences all the quantum Hamiltonians in an universal way, it predicts quantum gravity corrections to various quantum phenomena. Therefore, in the present work we compute these corrections to the Lamb shift, simple harmonic oscillator, Landau levels, and the tunneling current in a scanning tunneling microscope.


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