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Testing quantum mechanics in non-Minkowski space-time with high power lasers and 4th generation light sources

Crowley, B. J. B. and Bingham, R. and Evans, R. G. and Gericke, D. O. and Landen, O. L. and Murphy, C. D. and Norreys, P. A. and Rose, S. J. and Tschentscher, Th and Wang, C. H. -T and Wark, J. S. and Gregori, G. (2012) Testing quantum mechanics in non-Minkowski space-time with high power lasers and 4th generation light sources. Scientific Reports, 2. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

A common misperception of quantum gravity is that it requires accessing energies up to the Planck scale of 10(19) GeV, which is unattainable from any conceivable particle collider. Thanks to the development of ultra-high intensity optical lasers, very large accelerations can be now the reached at their focal spot, thus mimicking, by virtue of the equivalence principle, a non Minkowski space-time. Here we derive a semiclassical extension of quantum mechanics that applies to different metrics, but under the assumption of weak gravity. We use our results to show that Thomson scattering of photons by uniformly accelerated electrons predicts an observable effect depending upon acceleration and local metric. In the laboratory frame, a broadening of the Thomson scattered x ray light from a fourth generation light source can be used to detect the modification of the metric associated to electrons accelerated in the field of a high power optical laser.