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Background independent quantum gravity: a status report
, 2004
"... The goal of this article is to present an introduction to loop quantum gravity —a background independent, nonperturbative approach to the problem of unification of general relativity and quantum physics, based on a quantum theory of geometry. Our presentation is pedagogical. Thus, in addition to pr ..."
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Cited by 259 (7 self)
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The goal of this article is to present an introduction to loop quantum gravity —a background independent, nonperturbative approach to the problem of unification of general relativity and quantum physics, based on a quantum theory of geometry. Our presentation is pedagogical. Thus, in addition to providing a bird’s eye view of the present status of the subject, the article should also serve as a vehicle to enter the field and explore it in detail. To aid nonexperts, very little is assumed beyond elements of general relativity, gauge theories and quantum field theory. While the article is essentially selfcontained, the emphasis is on communicating the underlying ideas and the significance of results rather than on presenting systematic derivations and detailed proofs. (These can be found in the listed references.) The subject can be approached in different ways. We have chosen one which is deeply rooted in well established physics and also has sufficient mathematical precision to ensure that there are no hidden infinities. In order to keep the article to a reasonable size, and to avoid overwhelming nonexperts, we have had to leave out several interesting topics, results and viewpoints; this is meant to be an introduction to the subject rather than an exhaustive review of it.
Mathematical structure of loop quantum cosmology
 Adv. Theor. Math. Phys
, 2003
"... Applications of Riemannian quantum geometry to cosmology have had notable successes. In particular, the fundamental discreteness underlying quantum geometry has led to a natural resolution of the big bang singularity. However, the precise mathematical structure underlying loop quantum cosmology and ..."
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Cited by 74 (33 self)
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Applications of Riemannian quantum geometry to cosmology have had notable successes. In particular, the fundamental discreteness underlying quantum geometry has led to a natural resolution of the big bang singularity. However, the precise mathematical structure underlying loop quantum cosmology and the sense in which it implements the full quantization program in a symmetry reduced model has not been made explicit. The purpose of this paper is to address these issues, thereby providing a firmer mathematical and conceptual foundation to the subject. 1
Loop quantum cosmology
, 2006
"... Quantum gravity is expected to be necessary in order to understand situations where classical general relativity breaks down. In particular in cosmology one has to deal with initial singularities, i.e. the fact that the backward evolution of a classical spacetime inevitably comes to an end after a ..."
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Cited by 48 (11 self)
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Quantum gravity is expected to be necessary in order to understand situations where classical general relativity breaks down. In particular in cosmology one has to deal with initial singularities, i.e. the fact that the backward evolution of a classical spacetime inevitably comes to an end after a finite amount of proper time. This presents a breakdown of the classical picture and requires an extended theory for a meaningful description. Since small length scales and high curvatures are involved, quantum effects must play a role. Not only the singularity itself but also the surrounding spacetime is then modified. One particular realization is loop quantum cosmology, an application of loop quantum gravity to homogeneous systems, which removes classical singularities. Its implications can be studied at different levels. Main effects are introduced into effective classical equations which allow to avoid interpretational problems of quantum theory. They give rise to new kinds of early universe phenomenology with applications to inflation and cyclic models. To resolve classical singularities and to understand the structure of geometry around them, the quantum description is necessary. Classical evolution is then replaced by a difference equation for a wave function which allows to extend spacetime beyond classical singularities. One main question is how these homogeneous scenarios are related to full loop quantum gravity, which can be dealt with at the level of distributional symmetric states. Finally, the new structure of spacetime arising in loop quantum gravity and its application to cosmology sheds new light on more general issues such as time.
Quantization ambiguities in isotropic quantum geometry
, 2002
"... Some typical quantization ambiguities of quantum geometry are studied within isotropic models. Since this allows explicit computations of operators and their spectra, one can investigate the effects of ambiguities in a quantitative manner. It is shown that those ambiguities do not affect the fate of ..."
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Cited by 44 (29 self)
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Some typical quantization ambiguities of quantum geometry are studied within isotropic models. Since this allows explicit computations of operators and their spectra, one can investigate the effects of ambiguities in a quantitative manner. It is shown that those ambiguities do not affect the fate of the classical singularity, demonstrating that the absence of a singularity in loop quantum cosmology is a robust implication of the general quantization scheme. The calculations also allow conclusions about modified operators in the full theory. In particular, using holonomies in a nonfundamental representation of SU(2) to quantize connection components turns out to lead to significant corrections to classical behavior at macroscopic volume for large values of the spin of the chosen representation. 1
Spherically Symmetric Quantum Geometry: States and Basic
 Operators, Class. Quantum Grav
"... Abstract The kinematical setting of spherically symmetric quantum geometry, derived from the full theory of loop quantum gravity, is developed. This extends previous studies of homogeneous models to inhomogeneous ones where interesting field theory aspects arise. A comparison between a reduced quant ..."
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Cited by 35 (21 self)
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Abstract The kinematical setting of spherically symmetric quantum geometry, derived from the full theory of loop quantum gravity, is developed. This extends previous studies of homogeneous models to inhomogeneous ones where interesting field theory aspects arise. A comparison between a reduced quantization and a derivation of the model from the full theory is presented in detail, with an emphasis on the resulting quantum representation. Similar concepts for EinsteinRosen waves are discussed briefly.
Towards the QFT on Curved Spacetime Limit of QGR. I: A General Scheme
"... In this article and the companion paper [1] we address the question of how one might obtain the semiclassical limit of ordinary matter quantum fields (QFT) propagating on curved spacetimes (CST) from full fledged Quantum General Relativity (QGR), starting from first principles. We stress that we do ..."
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Cited by 26 (6 self)
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In this article and the companion paper [1] we address the question of how one might obtain the semiclassical limit of ordinary matter quantum fields (QFT) propagating on curved spacetimes (CST) from full fledged Quantum General Relativity (QGR), starting from first principles. We stress that we do not claim to have a satisfactory answer to this question, rather our intention is to ignite a discussion by displaying the problems that have to be solved when carrying out such a program. In the first paper of this series of two we propose a general scheme of logical steps that one has to take in order to arrive at such a limit. We discuss the technical and conceptual problems that arise in doing so and how they can be solved in principle. As to be expected, completely new issues arise due to the fact that QGR is a background independent theory. For instance, fundamentally the notion of a photon involves not only the Maxwell quantum field but also the metric operator – in a sense, there is no photon vacuum state but a “photon vacuum operator”! Such problems have, to the best of our knowledge, not been discussed in the literature before, we are facing squarely one aspect of the deep conceptual difference between a
Lattice refining loop quantum cosmology, anisotropic models and stability
, 2007
"... A general class of loop quantizations for anisotropic models is introduced and discussed, which enhances loop quantum cosmology by relevant features seen in inhomogeneous situations. The main new effect is an underlying lattice which is being refined during dynamical changes of the volume. In genera ..."
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Cited by 24 (19 self)
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A general class of loop quantizations for anisotropic models is introduced and discussed, which enhances loop quantum cosmology by relevant features seen in inhomogeneous situations. The main new effect is an underlying lattice which is being refined during dynamical changes of the volume. In general, this leads to a new feature of dynamical difference equations which may not have constant stepsize, posing new mathematical problems. It is discussed how such models can be evaluated and what lattice refinements imply for semiclassical behavior. Two detailed examples illustrate that stability conditions can put strong constraints on suitable refinement models, even in the absence of a fundamental Hamiltonian which defines changes of the underlying lattice. Thus, a large class of consistency tests of loop quantum gravity becomes available. In this context, it will also be seen that quantum corrections due to inverse powers of metric components in a constraint are much larger than they appeared recently in more special treatments of isotropic, free scalar models where they were artificially suppressed.
The Dark Side of a Patchwork Universe
, 2007
"... While observational cosmology has recently progressed fast, it revealed a serious dilemma called dark energy: an unknown source of exotic energy with negative pressure driving a current accelerating phase of the universe. All attempts so far to find a convincing theoretical explanation have failed, ..."
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Cited by 21 (19 self)
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While observational cosmology has recently progressed fast, it revealed a serious dilemma called dark energy: an unknown source of exotic energy with negative pressure driving a current accelerating phase of the universe. All attempts so far to find a convincing theoretical explanation have failed, so that one of the last hopes is the yet to be developed quantum theory of gravity. In this article, loop quantum gravity is considered as a candidate, with an emphasis on properties which might play a role for the dark energy problem. Its basic feature is the discrete structure of space, often associated with quantum theories of gravity on general grounds. This gives rise to welldefined matter Hamiltonian operators and thus sheds light on conceptual questions related to the cosmological constant problem. It also implies typical quantum geometry effects which, from a more phenomenological point of view, may result in dark energy. In particular the latter scenario allows several nontrivial tests which can be made more precise by detailed observations in combination with a quantitative study of numerical quantum gravity. If the speculative possibility of a loop quantum gravitational origin of dark energy turns out to be realized, a program as outlined here will help to hammer out our ideas for a quantum theory of gravity, and at the same time allow predictions for the distant future of our universe.