Semiclassical approach to atomic decoherence by gravitational waves

Diego Quinones Valles, Benjamin Varcoe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A new heuristic model of interaction of an atomic system with a gravitational wave is proposed. In it, the gravitational wave alters the local electromagnetic field of the atomic nucleus, as perceived by the electron, which changes the energy of the system. The spectral decomposition of the wave function is calculated, from which the energy of the system can be obtained. The results suggest a shift in the energy difference of the atomic energy levels, which will induce a small detuning to any given resonant transition. The detuning increases with the quantum numbers of the levels, making the effect more prominent for Rydberg states. We performed calculations on the Rabi oscillations of atomic transitions, estimating how they would vary as a result of the proposed effect.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number025005
    JournalThe Journal of Physics B: Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2017


    • decoherence
    • gravitational waves
    • Rydberg atoms
    • Rabi oscillations
    • transition detuning
    • quantum superposition
    • gravitational background


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