The existence of quantum correlations affects both microscopic and macroscopic systems. On macroscopic systems, they are difficult to observe and usually irrelevant for the system's evolution due to the frequent energy exchange with the environment. The world-wide network of gravitational-wave (GW) observatories exploits optical as well as mechanical systems that are highly macroscopic and largely decoupled from the environment. The quasi-monochromatic light fields in the kilometer-scale arm resonators have photon excitation numbers larger than 1019, and the mirrors that are quasi-free falling in propagation direction of the light fields have masses of around 40 kg. Recent observations on the GW observatories LIGO and Virgo clearly showed that the quantum uncertainty of one system affected the uncertainty of the other. Here, we review these observations and provide links to research goals targeted with mesoscopic optomechanical systems in other fields of fundamental physical research. These may have Gaussian quantum uncertainties as the ones in GW observatories or even non-Gaussian ones, such as Schrödinger cat states.
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Review Article| March 15 2022
Macroscopic quantum mechanics in gravitational-wave observatories and beyond
Special Collection: Celebrating Sir Roger Penrose's Nobel Prize
Roman Schnabel ;
Roman Schnabel, Mikhail Korobko; Macroscopic quantum mechanics in gravitational-wave observatories and beyond. AVS Quantum Sci. 1 March 2022; 4 (1): 014701. https://doi.org/10.1116/5.0077548
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