ERC Synergy Grant for LMU: exploring a new physics

25 Oct 2022

LMU physicist Georgi Dvali has been awarded the prestigious European Research Council Synergy Grant for a project at the interface of quantum physics and general relativity.

LMU physicist Georgi (Gia) Dvali is to receive an European Research Council (ERC) Synergy Grant. Prof. Dvali, Chair of Theoretical Particle Physics in the Faculty of Physics, is one of four Principal Investigators in the “Gravitational interferometry with entangled states in optical fibers” (GRAVITES) project, together with quantum physicist Professor Philip Walther from the University of Vienna (corresponding PI), theoretical physicist Professor Piotr Chrusciel also from the University of Vienna and physicist Prof. Nergis Mavalvala from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

ERC Synergy Grants fund teams of between two and four researchers. They support projects that lead to “progress at the frontiers of knowledge” through interdisciplinary collaboration. The GRAVITES award comes with funding of almost 9 million euros over a period of six years.

Gia Dvali


“GRAVITES has wide implications for fundamental physics which span from understanding the influence of gravity on entangled states, which are expected to store quantum information inside a black hole, all the way to probing new physics through its influence on entangled photons”, says Gia Dvali. The LMU-physicist is considered one of the foremost international experts in particle research and has earned much recognition in his field with his theories on gravitational interaction. The understanding of how entangled states store information in a black hole came largely from Davlis research, which was partially supported by an ERC advanced grant.

Overview of GRAVITES:

In undertaking the “Gravitational interferometry with entangled states in optical fibers” project, the team of physicists has set itself the goal of developing and conducting experiments at the interface of quantum physics and general relativity.

The four known interactions that occur in nature can be described either by Einstein’s general relativity or by quantum field theory. Over the last decades physicists have tried to put these two pillars of modern physics on a common foundation. In doing so, they have been limited by a lack of experiments at the interface of these two frameworks. Both theories have been independently verified with astonishing precision, but all verifications to date have come without drawing on concepts from the other theory. The goal of GRAVITES is to perform experiments at the interface of quantum physics and general relativity. For the first time, the physicists will measure gravitational properties of single and entangled photons against the background of Einstein’s gravity.

Increasing sensitivity by orders of magnitude

To this end, GRAVITES aims to combine four complementary disciplines: quantum photonics and precision interferometry guided by expertise in general relativity and quantum field theory. The synergy among the research groups will realize a large-scale fiber interferometer with unprecedented precision. Since the sensitivity of GRAVITES’s apparatus must exceed present large-scale fiber-based quantum interferometers by orders of magnitude, the two experimental teams must combine cutting-edge technologies in their respective fields for advancing single-photon interferometry.

These developments are also of direct relevance for many other applications such as quantum metrology and quantum sensing. In parallel, the theory teams will investigate the combined effects of gravitation and field quantization in dielectric waveguides. With this united effort, GRAVITES will be in the position to explore new physics that determines the gravitational properties of quantum superposition and quantum entanglement. This will pave the way for a unique experimental platform for probing how gravity interacts with the quantum world.

More about the research of Gia Dvali: Theoretical Particle Physics.

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