Optomechanical Analogy for Toy Cosmology with Quantized Scale Factor

TitleOptomechanical Analogy for Toy Cosmology with Quantized Scale Factor
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSmiga, JA, Taylor, JM
Start Page485
Date Published2017/09/12

The simplest cosmology—the Friedmann–Robertson–Walker–Lemaître (FRW) model— describes a spatially homogeneous and isotropic universe where the scale factor is the only dynamical parameter. Here we consider how quantized electromagnetic fields become entangled with the scale factor in a toy version of the FRW model. A system consisting of a photon, source, and detector is described in such a universe, and we find that the detection of a redshifted photon by the detector system constrains possible scale factor superpositions. Thus, measuring the redshift of the photon is equivalent to a weak measurement of the underlying cosmology. We also consider a potential optomechanical analogy system that would enable experimental exploration of these concepts. The analogy focuses on the effects of photon redshift measurement as a quantum back-action on metric variables, where the position of a movable mirror plays the role of the scale factor. By working in the rotating frame, an effective Hubble equation can be simulated with a simple free moving mirror.