H. Nikolic

Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagrabia, Grad Zagreb, Croatia

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Publications (84)120.02 Total impact

  • Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: The possibility of quantum interference of a composite object with many internal degrees of freedom is studied, such that the internal degrees play a role of an internal environment. In particular, if the internal degrees have a capacity for an irreversible record of which-path information, then the internal-environment induced decoherence prevents external experimentalists from observing interference. Interference can be observed only if the interfering object is sufficiently isolated from the external environment, so that the object cannot record which-path information. Extrapolation to a hypothetical interference experiment with a conscious object implies that being a Schrödinger cat would be like being an ordinary cat living in a box without any information about the world external to the box.
    European Journal of Physics 07/2015; 36(4). DOI:10.1088/0143-0807/36/4/045003 · 0.62 Impact Factor
  • Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: An argument by Banks, Susskind and Peskin (BSP), according to which violation of unitarity would violate either locality or energy-momentum conservation, is widely believed to be a strong argument against non-unitarity of Hawking radiation. We find that the whole BSP argument rests on the crucial assumption that the Hamiltonian is not highly degenerate, and point out that this assumption is not satisfied for systems with many degrees of freedom. Using Lindblad equation, we show that high degeneracy of the Hamiltonian allows local non-unitary evolution without violating energy-momentum conservation. Moreover, since energy-momentum is the source of gravity, we argue that energy-momentum is necessarily conserved for a large class of non-unitary systems with gravity. Finally, we explicitly calculate the Lindblad operators for non-unitary Hawking radiation and show that they conserve energy-momentum.
    Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 04/2015; 2015(04):002-002. DOI:10.1088/1475-7516/2015/04/002 · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: An argument by Banks, Susskind and Peskin (BSP), according to which violation of unitarity would violate either locality or energy-momentum conservation, is widely believed to be a strong argument against non-unitarity of Hawking radiation. We find that the whole BSP argument rests on the crucial assumption that the Hamiltonian is not highly degenerate, and point out that this assumption is wrong. Using Lindblad equation, we show that high degeneracy of the Hamiltonian allows local non-unitary evolution without violating energy-momentum conservation. Moreover, since energy-momentum is the source of gravity, we argue that energy-momentum is necessarily conserved for a large class of non-unitary systems with gravity. Finally, we explicitly calculate the Lindblad operators for non-unitary Hawking radiation and show that they conserve energy-momentum.
  • Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: In the usual formulation of quantum theory, time is a global classical evolution parameter, not a local quantum observable. On the other hand, both canonical quantum gravity (which lacks fundamental time-evolution parameter) and the principle of spacetime covariance (which insists that time should be treated on an equal footing with space) suggest that quantum theory should be slightly reformulated, in a manner that promotes time to a local observable. Such a reformulated quantum theory is unitary in a more general sense than the usual quantum theory. In particular, this promotes the non-unitary Hawking radiation to a unitary phenomenon, which avoids the black-hole information paradox.
    International Journal of Quantum Information 11/2014; 12(07n08):1560001. DOI:10.1142/S0219749915600011 · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: In the literature one often finds the claim that there is no such thing as an energy-momentum tensor for the gravitational field, and consequently, that the total energy-momentum conservation can only be defined in terms of a gravitational energy-momentum pseudo-tensor. I make a trivial observation that such a conclusion can be avoided by relaxing the assumption that gravitational energy-momentum tensor should only depend on first derivatives of the metric. With such a relaxation, the Einstein equation directly leads to the result that gravitational energy-momentum tensor is essentially the Einstein tensor.
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    H. Nikolic
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the usual formulation of quantum theory, time is a global classical evolution parameter, not a local quantum observable. On the other hand, both canonical quantum gravity (which lacks fundamental time-evolution parameter) and the principle of spacetime covariance (which insists that time should be treated on an equal footing with space) suggest that quantum theory should be slightly reformulated, in a manner that promotes time to a local observable. Such a reformulated quantum theory is unitary in a more general sense than the usual quantum theory. In particular, this promotes the non-unitary Hawking radiation to a unitary phenomenon, which avoids the black-hole information paradox.
  • Source
    H. Nikolic
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The possibility of quantum interference of a composite object with many internal degrees of freedom is studied, such that the internal degrees play a role of an internal environment. In particular, if the internal degrees have a capacity for an irreversible record of which-path information, then the internal-environment induced decoherence prevents external experimentalists from observing interference. Interference can be observed only if the interfering object is sufficiently isolated from the external environment, so that the object cannot record which-path information. Extrapolation to a hypothetical interference experiment with a conscious object implies that being a Schrodinger cat would be like being an ordinary cat living in a box without any information about the world external to the box.
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    Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: We present evidence that quantum Zeno effect, otherwise working only for microscopic systems, may also work for large black holes (BH's). The expectation that a BH geometry should behave classically at time intervals larger than the Planck time tPltPl indicates that the quantum process of measurement of classical degrees of freedom takes time of the order of tPltPl. Since BH has only a few classical degrees of freedom, such a fast measurement makes a macroscopic BH strongly susceptible to the quantum Zeno effect, which repeatedly collapses the quantum state to the initial one, the state before the creation of Hawking quanta. By this mechanism, Hawking radiation from a BH of mass M is strongly suppressed by a factor of the order of mPl/MmPl/M.
    Physics Letters B 06/2014; 733:6–10. DOI:10.1016/j.physletb.2014.04.017 · 6.02 Impact Factor
  • Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: In the textbook proofs of the Lorentz covariance of the Dirac equation, one treats the wave function as a spinor and gamma matrices as scalars, leading to a quite complicated formalism with several pedagogic drawbacks. As an alternative, I propose to teach the Dirac equation and its Lorentz covariance by using a much simpler, but physically equivalent formalism, in which these drawbacks do not appear. In this alternative formalism, the wave function transforms as a scalar and gamma matrices as components of a vector, such that the standard physically relevant bilinear combinations do not change their transformation properties. The alternative formalism allows also a natural construction of some additional non-standard bilinear combinations with well-defined transformation properties.
    European Journal of Physics 03/2014; 35(3):035003. DOI:10.1088/0143-0807/35/3/035003 · 0.62 Impact Factor
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: We present evidence that quantum Zeno effect, otherwise working only for microscopic systems, may also work for large black holes (BH's). The expectation that a BH geometry should behave classically at time intervals larger than the Planck time t_Pl indicates that the quantum process of measurement of classical degrees of freedom takes time of the order of t_Pl. Since BH has only a few classical degrees of freedom, such a fast measurement makes a macroscopic BH strongly susceptible to the quantum Zeno effect, which repeatedly collapses the quantum state to the initial one, the state before the creation of Hawking quanta. By this mechanism, Hawking radiation from a BH of mass M is strongly suppressed by a factor of the order of m_Pl/M.
  • Source
    H. Nikolic
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the textbook proofs of Lorentz covariance of the Dirac equation, one treats the wave function as a spinor and gamma matrices as scalars, leading to a quite complicated formalism with several pedagogic drawbacks. As an alternative, I propose to teach Dirac equation and its Lorentz covariance by using a much simpler, but physically equivalent formalism, in which these drawbacks do not appear. In this alternative formalism, the wave function transforms as a scalar and gamma matrices as components of a vector, such that the standard physically relevant bilinear combinations do not change their transformation properties. The alternative formalism allows also a natural construction of some additional non-standard bilinear combinations with well-defined transformation properties.
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: Bohmian mechanics can be generalized to a relativistic theory without preferred foliation, with a price of introducing a puzzling concept of spacetime probability conserved in a scalar time. We explain how analogous concept appears naturally in classical statistical mechanics of relativistic particles, with scalar time being identified with the proper time along particle trajectories. The conceptual understanding of relativistic Bohmian mechanics is significantly enriched by this classical insight. In particular, the analogy between classical and Bohmian mechanics suggests the interpretation of Bohmian scalar time as a quantum proper time different from the classical one, the two being related by a nonlocal scale factor calculated from the wave function. In many cases of practical interest, including the macroscopic measuring apparatus, the fundamental spacetime probability explains the more familiar space probability as an emergent approximate description. Requiring that the quantum proper time in the classical limit should reduce to the classical proper time, we propose that only massive particles have Bohmian trajectories. An analysis of the macroscopic measuring apparatus made up of massive particles restores agreement with the predictions of standard quantum theory.
  • Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: We argue that it is logically possible to have a sort of both reality and locality in quantum mechanics. To demonstrate this, we construct a new quantitative model of hidden variables (HV’s), dubbed solipsistic HV’s, that interpolates between the orthodox no-HV interpretation and nonlocal Bohmian interpretation. In this model, the deterministic point-particle trajectories are associated only with the essential degrees of freedom of the observer, and not with the observed objects. In contrast with Bohmian HV’s, nonlocality in solipsistic HV’s can be substantially reduced down to microscopic distances inside the observer. Even if such HV’s may look philosophically unappealing to many, the mere fact that they are logically possible deserves attention.
    International Journal of Quantum Information 12/2012; 10(8). DOI:10.1142/S021974991241016X · 0.99 Impact Factor
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: It is often argued that measurable predictions of Bohmian mechanics cannot be distinguished from those of a theory with arbitrarily modified particle velocities satisfying the same equivariance equation. By considering the wave function of a closed system in a state with definite total energy, we argue that a distinction in measurable predictions is possible. Even though such a wave function is time-independent, the conditional wave function for a subsystem depends on time through the time-dependent particle trajectories not belonging to the subsystem. If these trajectories can be approximated by classical trajectories, then the conditional wave function can be approximated by a wave function which satisfies Schrodinger equation in a classical time-dependent potential, which is in good agreement with observations. However, such an approximation cannot be justified for particle velocities significantly deviating from the Bohmian ones, implying that Bohmian velocities are observationally preferred.
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    Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: In 1930, Einstein argued against the consistency of the time–energy uncertainty relation by discussing a thought experiment involving a measurement of the mass of the box which emitted a photon. Bohr seemingly prevailed over Einstein by arguing that Einstein's own general theory of relativity saves the consistency of quantum mechanics. We revisit this thought experiment from a modern point of view at a level suitable for an undergraduate readership and find that neither Einstein nor Bohr was correct. Instead, this thought experiment should be thought of as an early example of a system demonstrating nonlocal 'EPR' quantum correlations, five years before the famous Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paper.
    European Journal of Physics 06/2012; 33(5):1089. DOI:10.1088/0143-0807/33/5/1089 · 0.62 Impact Factor
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: In classical relativistic mechanics, a "preferred" proper direction in spacetime for each particle is determined by the direction of its 4-momentum. Analogously, for each quantum particle we find a local direction uniquely determined by the many-particle wave function, which for each particle defines the proper foliation of spacetime. This can be used to formulate a relativistic-covariant version of Bohmian mechanics, with equivariant probability density on proper hypersurfaces.
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: A general formulation of classical relativistic particle mechanics is presented, with an emphasis on the fact that superluminal velocities and nonlocal interactions are compatible with relativity. Then a manifestly relativistic-covariant formulation of relativistic quantum mechanics (QM) of fixed number of particles (with or without spin) is presented, based on many-time wave functions and the spacetime probabilistic interpretation. These results are used to formulate the Bohmian interpretation of relativistic QM in a manifestly relativistic-covariant form. The results are also generalized to quantum field theory (QFT), where quantum states are represented by wave functions depending on an infinite number of spacetime coordinates. The corresponding Bohmian interpretation of QFT describes an infinite number of particle trajectories. Even though the particle trajectories are continuous, the appearance of creation and destruction of a finite number of particles results from quantum theory of measurements describing entanglement with particle detectors.
  • Source
    H. Nikolic
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We argue that it is logically possible to have a sort of both reality and locality in quantum mechanics. To demonstrate this, we construct a new quantitative model of hidden variables (HV's), dubbed solipsistic HV's, that interpolates between the orthodox no-HV interpretation and nonlocal Bohmian interpretation. In this model, the deterministic point-particle trajectories are associated only with the essential degrees of freedom of the observer, and not with the observed objects. In contrast with Bohmian HV's, nonlocality in solipsistic HV's can be substantially reduced down to microscopic distances inside the observer. Even if such HV's may look philosophically unappealing to many, the mere fact that they are logically possible deserves attention.
  • Source
    Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: To relax the apparent tension between nonlocal hidden variables and relativity, we propose that the observable proper time is not the same quantity as the usual proper-time parameter appearing in local relativistic equations. Instead, the two proper times are related by a nonlocal rescaling parameter proportional to |ψ|2, so that they coincide in the classical limit. In this way particle trajectories may obey local relativistic equations of motion in a manner consistent with the appearance of nonlocal quantum correlations. To illustrate the main idea, we first present two simple toy models of local particle trajectories with nonlocal time, which reproduce some nonlocal quantum phenomena. After that, we present a realistic theory with a capacity to reproduce all predictions of quantum theory.
    Foundations of Physics 02/2011; 42(5). DOI:10.1007/s10701-012-9631-2 · 1.14 Impact Factor
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: The fact that canonical quantum gravity does not possess a fundamental notion of time implies that the theory is unitary in a trivial sense. At the fundamental level, this trivial unitarity leaves no room for a black-hole information loss. Yet, a phenomenological loss of information may appear when some matter degrees of freedom are reinterpreted as a clock-time. This explains how both fundamental unitarity and phenomenological information loss may peacefully coexist, which offers a resolution of the black-hole information paradox.