Constraint on collapse models by limit on spontaneous x-ray emission in Ge

Foundations of Physics 25 (10):1399-1412 (1995)
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The continuous spontaneous localization (CSL) model modifies Schrödinger's equation so that the collapse of the state vector is described as a physical process (a special interaction of particles with a universal fluctuating field). A consequence of the model is that an electron in an atom should occasionally get “spontaneously” knocked out of the atom. The CSL ionization rate for the 1s electrons in the Ge atom is calculated and compared with an experimental upper limit for the rate of “spontaneously” generated x-ray pulses in Ge. This gives, for the first time, an experimental constraint on the parameters which characterize this model (the GRW parameters and the relative collapse rate of electrons and nucleons). It is concluded that the values assigned to the GRW parameters by GRW may be maintained only if the coupling of electrons to the fluctuating field is 0.35% or less than the coupling of nucleons, suggestive of a mass-proportional (and therefore gravitational) collapse mechanism. For other allowed values of the GRW parameters, it is still argued that nucleons should collapse more rapidly than electrons



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