H. Nikolic

Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagrabia, Grad Zagreb, Croatia

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Publications (91)123.76 Total impact

  • Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: Crystals, as quantum objects typically much larger than their lattice spacing, are counterexamples to a frequent prejudice that quantum effects should not be pronounced at macroscopic distances. We propose that the Einstein theory of gravity only describes a fluid phase and that a phase transition of crystallization can occur under extreme conditions such as those inside the black hole. Such a crystal phase with lattice spacing of the order of the Planck length offers a natural mechanism for pronounced quantum-gravity effects at distances much larger than the Planck length. A resolution of the black hole information paradox is proposed, according to which all information is stored in a crystal-phase remnant with size and mass much above the Planck scale.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Modern Physics Letters A
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: We propose a new non-holographic formulation of AdS/CFT correspondence, according to which quantum gravity on AdS and its dual non-gravitational field theory both live in the same number D of dimensions. The field theory, however, appears (D-1)-dimensional because the interactions do not propagate in one of the dimensions. The D-dimensional action for the field theory can be identified with the sum over (D-1)-dimensional actions with all possible values $\Lambda$ of the UV cutoff, so that the extra hidden dimension can be identified with $\Lambda$. Since there are no interactions in the extra dimension, most of the practical results of standard holographic AdS/CFT correspondence transcribe to non-holographic AdS/CFT without any changes. However, the implications on black-hole entropy change significantly. The maximal black-hole entropy now scales with volume, while the Bekenstein-Hawking entropy is interpreted as the minimal possible black-hole entropy. In this way, the non-holographic AdS/CFT correspondence offers a simple resolution of the black-hole information paradox, consistent with a recently proposed gravitational crystal.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015
  • 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.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · European Journal of Physics
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    H. Nikolic
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    ABSTRACT: Crystals, as quantum objects typically much larger than their lattice spacing, are a counterexample to a frequent prejudice that quantum effects should not be pronounced at macroscopic distances. We propose that the Einstein theory of gravity only describes a fluid phase and that a phase transition of crystallization can occur under extreme conditions such as those inside the black hole. Such a crystal phase with lattice spacing of the order of the Planck length offers a natural mechanism for pronounced quantum-gravity effects at distances much larger than the Planck length. A resolution of the black-hole information paradox is proposed, according to which all information is stored in a crystal-phase remnant with size and mass much above the Planck scale.
    Preview · Article · May 2015
  • 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.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
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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.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2015
  • 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.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · International Journal of Quantum Information
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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.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014
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    H. Nikolic
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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.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014
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    H. Nikolic
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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 Schrodinger cat would be like being an ordinary cat living in a box without any information about the world external to the box.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014
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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.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Physics Letters B
  • 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.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · European Journal of Physics
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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.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2013
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    H. Nikolic
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    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.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2013
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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.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2013
  • 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.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · International Journal of Quantum Information
  • Hrvoje Nikolić
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    ABSTRACT: We explore some implications of the hypothesis that quantum mechanics (QM) is universal, i.e., that QM does not merely describe information accessible to observers, but that it also describes the observers themselves. From that point of view, “free will” (FW)–the ability of experimentalists to make free choices of initial conditions–is merely an illusion. As a consequence, by entangling a part of brain (responsible for the illusion of FW) with a distant particle, one may create nonlocal correlations that can be interpreted as superluminal signals. In addition, if FW is an illusion, then QM on a closed timelike curve can be made consistent even without the Deutch nonlinear consistency constraint.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience
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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.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2012
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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.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2012 · European Journal of Physics
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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.
    Preview · Article · May 2012