Force-free gravitational redshift: proposed gravitational Aharonov-Bohm experiment

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Jun 8;108(23):230404. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.230404. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


We propose a feasible laboratory interferometry experiment with matter waves in a gravitational potential caused by a pair of artificial field-generating masses. It will demonstrate that the presence of these masses (and, for moving atoms, time dilation) induces a phase shift, even if it does not cause any classical force. The phase shift is identical to that produced by the gravitational redshift (or time dilation) of clocks ticking at the atom's Compton frequency. In analogy to the Aharonov-Bohm effect in electromagnetism, the quantum mechanical phase is a function of the gravitational potential and not the classical forces.