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Explaining recurring maser flares in the ISM through large-scale entangled quantum mechanical states

Rajabi, Fereshteh and Houde, Martin (2017) Explaining recurring maser flares in the ISM through large-scale entangled quantum mechanical states. Science Advances, 3 (3). Art. No. e1601858. ISSN 2375-2548. PMCID PMC5365248. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1601858.

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We apply Dicke’s theory of superradiance (introduced in 1954) to the 6.7-GHz methanol and 22-GHz water spectral lines, often detected in molecular clouds as signposts for the early stages of the star formation process. We suggest that superradiance, characterized by burst-like features taking place over a wide range of time scales, may provide a natural explanation for the recent observations of periodic and seemingly alternating methanol and water maser flares in G107.298+5.639. Although these observations would be very difficult to explain within the context of maser theory, we show that these flares may result from simultaneously initiated 6.7-GHz methanol and 22-GHz water superradiant bursts operating on different time scales, thus providing a natural mechanism for their observed durations and time ordering. The evidence of superradiance in this source further suggests the existence of entangled quantum mechanical states, involving a very large number of molecules, over distances of up to a few kilometers in the interstellar medium.

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Additional Information:© 2017 The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited. Submitted 9 August 2016; Accepted 9 February 2017; Published 24 March 2017. We thank M. Szymczak for sharing her data of G107.298+5.639. We would also like to thank K. Fujisawa for making his data of G33.64-0.21 available to us, provided in the Supplementary Materials. We are grateful to S. Metchev and J. Cami for their useful suggestions and comments. Funding: M.H.’s research is funded through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant RGPIN-2016-04460 and the Western Strategic Support for Research Accelerator Success. Author contributions: Both authors contributed to the science discussion and to the writing of the paper. F.R. obtained and analyzed the data, and M.H. produced the figures appearing in the paper. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. Additional data related to this paper may be requested from the authors.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)RGPIN-2016-04460
Western Strategic Support for Research Accelerator SuccessUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Superradiance, Astronomical masers, Entangled quantum mechanical states
Issue or Number:3
PubMed Central ID:PMC5365248
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170406-091402898
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Official Citation:F. Rajabi, M. Houde, Explaining recurring maser flares in the ISM through large-scaleentangled quantum mechanical states. Sci. Adv. 3, e1601858 (2017)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75788
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Apr 2017 16:25
Last Modified:28 Mar 2022 22:46

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