TY - JOUR

T1 - A Planck-scale limit on spacetime fuzziness and stochastic Lorentz invariance violation

AU - Vasileiou, Vlasios

AU - Granot, Jonathan

AU - Piran, Tsvi

AU - Amelino-Camelia, Giovanni

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

PY - 2015/4/8

Y1 - 2015/4/8

N2 - Wheeler's 'spacetime-foam'picture of quantum gravity (QG) suggests spacetime fuzziness (fluctuations leading to non-deterministic effects) at distances comparable to the Planck length, L Pl â ‰ 1.62 × 10 â '33 cm, the inverse (in natural units) of the Planck energy, E Pl â ‰ 1.22 × 10 19 GeV. The resulting non-deterministic motion of photons on the Planck scale is expected to produce energy-dependent stochastic fluctuations in their speed. Such a stochastic deviation from the well-measured speed of light at low photon energies, c, should be contrasted with the possibility of an energy-dependent systematic, deterministic deviation. Such a systematic deviation, on which observations by the Fermi satellite set Planck-scale limits for linear energy dependence, is more easily searched for than stochastic deviations. Here, for the first time, we place Planck-scale limits on the more generic spacetime-foam prediction of energy-dependent fuzziness in the speed of photons. Using high-energy observations from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) of gamma-ray burst GRB090510, we test a model in which photon speeds are distributed normally around c with a standard deviation proportional to the photon energy. We constrain the model's characteristic energy scale beyond the Planck scale at >2.8E Pl (>1.6E Pl), at 95% (99%) confidence. Our results set a benchmark constraint to be reckoned with by any QG model that features spacetime quantization.

AB - Wheeler's 'spacetime-foam'picture of quantum gravity (QG) suggests spacetime fuzziness (fluctuations leading to non-deterministic effects) at distances comparable to the Planck length, L Pl â ‰ 1.62 × 10 â '33 cm, the inverse (in natural units) of the Planck energy, E Pl â ‰ 1.22 × 10 19 GeV. The resulting non-deterministic motion of photons on the Planck scale is expected to produce energy-dependent stochastic fluctuations in their speed. Such a stochastic deviation from the well-measured speed of light at low photon energies, c, should be contrasted with the possibility of an energy-dependent systematic, deterministic deviation. Such a systematic deviation, on which observations by the Fermi satellite set Planck-scale limits for linear energy dependence, is more easily searched for than stochastic deviations. Here, for the first time, we place Planck-scale limits on the more generic spacetime-foam prediction of energy-dependent fuzziness in the speed of photons. Using high-energy observations from the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT) of gamma-ray burst GRB090510, we test a model in which photon speeds are distributed normally around c with a standard deviation proportional to the photon energy. We constrain the model's characteristic energy scale beyond the Planck scale at >2.8E Pl (>1.6E Pl), at 95% (99%) confidence. Our results set a benchmark constraint to be reckoned with by any QG model that features spacetime quantization.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84926516262&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/nphys3270

DO - 10.1038/nphys3270

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AN - SCOPUS:84926516262

SN - 1745-2473

VL - 11

SP - 344

EP - 346

JO - Nature Physics

JF - Nature Physics

IS - 4

ER -