Entanglement, space and time

Project Details


Many of the strangest properties of quantum mechanics arise because quantum objects have the capacity to be “entangled” so that it becomes impossible to measure the state of one without interfering with the other. There has been nearly a century of work investigating such entanglement between spatially separated regions.

But quantum systems can be entangled in other ways – e.g., between small and large energy scales, and between degrees of freedom that are “internal” and not spatially organized.

What is more, there are some quantum systems (e.g. the gauge field theories of the Standard Model of particle physics) in which a new formalism is needed even to define what is meant by spatial entanglement.

Surprisingly, these exotic new sorts of entanglement are now understood to be key ingredients in understanding the structure of spacetime in quantum theories of gravity.

Specifically, it seems that, in string theory, the connectedness of spacetime is related to entanglement between the underlying degrees of freedom (the atoms of spacetime, if you will).

Thus, our project has two components: (1) to develop new mathematical and physical tools for characterizing quantum entanglement that is not spatially organized, and (2) to apply these methods to understand how spacetime geometry emerges as a construct in formulations of string theory where some dimensions of space emerge dynamically from a gauge theory.
Effective start/end date1/01/1631/12/19

Flemish discipline codes

  • Quantum theory


  • Quantum mechanics