Quantum Simulators for Fundamental Physics


The dynamics of the early universe and black holes are fundamental reflections of the interplay between general relativity and quantum fields. The essential physical processes occur when gravitational interactions are strong, and quantum effects are important. These situations are difficult to observe and impossible to experiment with. Further, current theoretical predictions for these regimes are based on major extrapolations of laboratory-tested physics. In many of these extreme regimes, existing theoretical approaches are based on approximations and are thus highly limited in the range of observable phenomena for which they are able to provide predictions.

The pressing need for experimental verification of these ideas coincides with huge experimental advances by the quantum technology community. Moreover, the motivation for breakthrough experiments probing collective quantum phenomena has often been provided by questions in fundamental physics. We propose to unite the quantum technology and fundamental physics communities to merge these strands of investigation by employing analogue quantum simulators.

Science Goals

We propose to investigate the following processes in a controlled laboratory environment:

Quantum Black Holes

  • We will perform the first experiments that will allow systematic study of quantum wave-modes around quantised analogue black holes.

Quantum Vacuum

  • We will perform experiments for quantum simulation of false vacuum decay in an inflationary multiverse setting.


World-leading researchers in the following STFC and EPSRC areas:
Cosmology, Gravity and non-equilibrium Field Thoery
  • Jonathan Braden (Canada, CITA)
  • Hiranya Peiris (UK, UCL)
  • Andrew Pontzen (UK, UCL)
  • Mathew Johnson (Canada, Perimter Institute)
  • Ian Moss (UK, Newcastle)
  • Ruth Gregory (UK, Durham)
  • Jorma Louko (UK, Nottingham)
  • Ralf Schuetzhold (Germany, Helmholz Centre)
  • Bill Unruh (Canada, Vancouver)
  • Silke Weinfurtner (UK, Nottingham)
Ultracold Atoms
  • Thomas Billam (UK, Newcastel)
  • Zoran Hadzibabic (UK, Cambridge)
  • Joerg Schmiedmayer (Austria, Vienna)
Superfluid 4He
  • Carlo Barenghi (UK, Newcastle)
  • John Owers-Bradley (UK, Nottingham)
Superfluid Nanofabrication
  • Gregoire Ithier (UK, Royal Holloway London)
  • Xavier Rojas (UK, Royal Holloway London)
  • Pierre Verlot (UK, Nottingham University)
Qunatum Optics
  • Friedrich Koenig (UK, St. Andrews University)



Silke Weinfurtner The University of Nottingham