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ABSTRACT

All existing quantum gravity proposals share the same deep problem. Their predictions are extremely hard to test in practice. Quantum effects in the gravitational field are exceptionally small, unlike those in the electromagnetic field. The fundamental reason is that the gravitational coupling constant is about 43 orders of magnitude smaller than the fine structure constant, which governs light-matter interactions. For example, the detection of gravitons -- the hypothetical quanta of energy of the gravitational field predicted by certain quantum-gravity proposals -- is deemed to be practically impossible. In this letter we adopt a radically different, quantum-information-theoretic approach which circumvents the problem that quantum gravity is hard to test. We propose an experiment to witness quantum-like features in the gravitational field, by probing it with two masses each in a superposition of two locations. First, we prove the fact that any system (e.g. a field) capable of mediating entanglement between two quantum systems must itself be quantum. This argument is general and does not rely on any specific dynamics. Then, we propose an experiment to detect the entanglement generated between two masses via gravitational interaction. By our argument, the degree of entanglement between the masses is an indirect witness of the quantisation of the field mediating the interaction. Remarkably, this experiment does not require any quantum control over gravity itself. It is also closer to realisation than other proposals, such as detecting gravitons or detecting quantum gravitational vacuum fluctuations.

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