Within quantum physics there is a category called the “quantum field theory” (QFT). This theory states that quantum particles are in localized excitation states being a part of a general quantum field. These excited states of particles are called field quanta, this QFT theory interacts with Einstein’s classical conception upon space time.
Where gravity theoretically could be a result of this curved space principle, modern physics still struggles to describe what curved space is and how it interacts with the quantum field. Answering this question will help physicists understand some of the biggest mysteries of the universe.
The picture below shows just how the bending within space interacts with the light around it.
To curve space isn’t an easy feat as the only objects that can do this are supermassive and super-dense objects within the universe, an example for this would be a black hole. However that would be a natural curved space event within the universe we want to create a synthetic one using the tools we have today, and that is exactly what the German researcher called Nikodem Szpak has done.
He utilizes ultra-cold atoms (where heat is just atomic movement, he uses ultra-cold atoms which force the atoms to be motionless) as they are placed within a very specific optical lattice (laser-field) they behave in a way which can be related to the movement of quantum particles moving through space.
Investigating the cohesion between the atoms and the lattice using multiple lasers to create interference patterns with spaced levels of high and low energy intensity.
“think of these interface patterns as an environment being a mountain range – the peaks of the mountains have the highest energy potential and their joining bottoms have the lowest energy potentials.”
Here the ultra-cold atoms will propagate to the areas of low energy due to the laws of thermodynamics, while they are stationary in classical physics, in the quantum physics world these atoms are able to “utilize quantum tunnelling ” allowing them to move around the environment. Here all of the movement must be done by quantum tunnelling alone, so the atoms need to be supercool to force this into effect.
If this happens the overall pattern of movement though the lattice of the material can represent to us the interaction of quantum fields and curved space .
Here the scientists have complete control over the lattice structure (creating different high and low energy areas) and can force the atoms to move in different directions, helping simulate for example a quantum fields effect on flat space time. ( this technically does not exist) Another experiment might simulate the warped space near to the surface of a star.
This research won’t just effect the short term as this can open up new doorways to theoretical astrophysics and quantum physics which could one day lead us to solving some of the bigger mysteries of the universe.
Utilizing this technique of space time curvature researchers could give scientists a way to simulate event horizons upon black holes or distant solar systems. All they would need to do is correct the pattern of tunneling spots within the material. There isn’t a way to predict how this new technique will be utilized by future scientists but we have high hopes for what they can achieve now knowing this.