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Sci Adv. 2019 Oct 4;5(10):eaax8966. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax8966. eCollection 2019 Oct.

Interference of clocks: A quantum twin paradox.

Author information

1
Institut für Quantenoptik, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Welfengarten 1, D-30167 Hannover, Germany.
2
Institut für Quantenphysik and Center for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology (IQ), Universität Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, D-89069 Ulm, Germany.
3
Centre for Engineered Quantum Systems, School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia.
4
Hagler Institute for Advanced Study and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering (IQSE), Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4242, USA.
5
Institute of Quantum Technologies, German Aerospace Center (DLR), D-89069 Ulm, Germany.

Abstract

The phase of matter waves depends on proper time and is therefore susceptible to special-relativistic (kinematic) and gravitational (redshift) time dilation. Hence, it is conceivable that atom interferometers measure general-relativistic time-dilation effects. In contrast to this intuition, we show that (i) closed light-pulse interferometers without clock transitions during the pulse sequence are not sensitive to gravitational time dilation in a linear potential. (ii) They can constitute a quantum version of the special-relativistic twin paradox. (iii) Our proposed experimental geometry for a quantum-clock interferometer isolates this effect.

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