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The equivalence principle is one of the corner stones of general relativity. Now physicists have used quantum mechanics to show how it fails.

Inertial and gravitational mass in quantum mechanics

Abstract: We show that in complete agreement with classical mechanics, the dynamics of any quantum mechanical wave packet in a linear gravitational potential involves the gravitational and the inertial mass only as their ratio. In contrast, the spatial modulation of the corresponding energy wave function is determined by the third root of the product of the two masses. Moreover, the discrete energy spectrum of a particle constrained in its motion by a linear gravitational potential and an infinitely steep wall depends on the inertial as well as the gravitational mass with different fractional powers. This feature might open a new avenue in quantum tests of the universality of free fall.



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To be more precise this article shows how the equivalence principle can be tested at the quantum level.
Category: Science