Home > Programs > Zenith Grants > Zenith Grant Awardee

Zenith Grant Awardee

Thomas Durt

Institut Fresnel – UMR 7249


Ralph Willox, University of Tokyo; Samuel Colin, Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas

Project Title

Quantum Rogue Waves as Emerging Quantum Events

Project Summary

There are many puzzling aspects of the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics. Light, for example, sometimes behaves as particles, other times as a wave, depending on what is being measured. The observer causes the collapse of the wave-function and this, together with the linearity of the Schrödinger wave equation, forms the core of the measurement problem. However, there are alternatives to standard quantum mechanics which are not plagued by the measurement problem. An example is collapse models, in which a quantum system is always described by a wave, but this wave does not always evolve according to a deterministic equation: it gets localized sporadically according to a stochastic process. We aim to explain this spontaneous localization of the wave thanks to a deterministic process similar to a rogue wave formation, which is a freak wave whose birth is best described by a non-linear wave equation. A good candidate for such program is a non-linear wave equation where the non-linear term has a gravitational origin. In this non-linear framework, we want to understand how these quantum rogue waves (as events) emerge from the wave-function, the relations between these events, and to propose experimental tests to falsify our model.

Technical Abstract

Our project is based on the assumption that the wave-function is the complete description of any quantum system and that it should obey a deterministic nonlinear wave-equation. Collapse models share these characteristics except that the wave evolution is a stochastic one, the stochastic term corresponding to the spontaneous localization of particles. Our ultimate goal is to explain the stochastic spontaneous localization by means of a deterministic but perhaps unpredictable localization process of the wave. This process would be similar to rogue wave formation, which is a process best described by nonlinear wave equations and of relevance to acoustical, hydrodynamical or optical phenomena. The Schr\\\"odinger-Newton equation, which is a nonlinear wave equation where the nonlinear term originates from gravitational self-energy, is a good candidate for our program. In this project, we will develop new experimental tests, to be carried out in an optical trap on Earth. We will also study quantum rogue wave formation in simple models to try to understand the properties of such waves with respect to causality and faster-than-light signaling. Finally, we will organize an extra workshop session that would gather the different actors of the field (experimental physicists, physicists working on collapse models, on nonlinear wave equations).

Skip to content