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Quantum Gravity

contact : contact-quant-grav@cpt.univ-mrs.fr

The Quantum Gravity is composed of the teams:

black holes
quantum cosmology
loop quantum gravity
spin networks

The QG equipe works on a major unsolved question in fundamental physics: understanding the quantum properties of gravity. Since gravity is the dynamics of spacetime, this amount to study the quantum behaviour of time and space.

Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG), is a main approach towards the solution of this problem, and the CPT is a leader in this field. The group works on the formal definition of the theory, its mathematical aspects, and its applications.

Among the formal developments, the group is studying the properties of the coherent semiclassical states which describe quantum geometry, and is developing a reformulation of the theory in terms of twistors which should simplify its application.

The main applications are to early cosmology and to black hole physics. The objective of the research is to find observable phenomena that could test the theory empirically.

In the context of early cosmology, LQG allows to explore the region around the initial singularity predicted by classical general relativity. The theory indicates that the present expansion phase was preceded by a contraction phase.

In the context of Black hole physics, LQG opens the possibility to study the physics of the high-curvature region (the “Planck star”), suggesting that the singularity predicted by classical general relativity is cured by quantum effects. A black hole is consequently unstable: it can explode via a quantum tunnelling process, akin to conventional radioactive nuclear decay. The equipe studies the signals produced by such black hole explosions. One hypothesis is that currently observed astrophysical phenomena such as very-high-energy gamma rays or Fast Radio Bursts could be originated by such a quantum gravitational explosion of primordial black holes.

The quantum structure of spacetime is also relevant for the thermal properties of the black holes and for the so-called black-hole “information paradox”. The group is at the forefront of the analysis of these questions.