Quantum chaos in astrophysical length scales?

Kea commented about transition to quantum chaos and gave a link to the article Quantum Chaos by Martin Gurtzwiller in Matthew Watkins's home page devoted to Riemann Zeta. Occasionally even this kind of a masterpiece of scientific writing manages to stimulate only an intention to read it more carefully later. When you indeed read it again few years later it can shatter you into a wild resonance. Just this occurred at this time.

1. Brief summary about quantum chaos

The article of Gurtzwiller discusses the complex regime between quantal and classical behavior as it was understood at the time of writing (1992). As a non-specialist I have no idea about possible new discoveries since then.

The article introduces the division of classical systems into regular (R) and chaotic (P in honor of Poincare) ones. Besides this one has quantal systems (Q). There are three transition regions between these three realms.

  1. R-P corresponds to transition to classical chaos and KAM theorem is a powerful tool allowing to organize the view about P in terms of surviving periodic orbits.

  2. Quantum-classical transition region R-Q corresponds to high quantum number limit and is governed by Bohr's correspondence principle. Highly excited hydrogen atom - Rydberg atom - defines a canonical example of the situation.

  3. Somewhat surprisingly it has turned out that also P-Q region can be understood in terms of periodic classical orbits (nothing else is available!). P-Q region can be achieved experimentally if one puts Rydberg atom in a strong magnetic field. At the weak field limit quantum states are delocalized but in chaotic regime the wave functions become strongly concentrated along a periodic classical orbits.

    At the level of dynamics the basic example about P-Q transition region discussed is the chaotic quantum scattering of electron in atomic lattice. Classical description does not work: a superposition of amplitudes for orbits, which consist of pieces which are fragments of a periodic orbit plus localization around atom is necessary.

The fractal wave function patterns associated with say hydrogen atom in strong magnetic field are extremely beautiful and far from chaotic. Even in the case of chaotic quantum scattering one has interference of quantum amplitudes for classical Bohr orbits and also now Fourier transform exhibits nice peaks corresponding to the periods of classical orbits. The term chaos seems to be an unfortunate choice referring to our limited cognitive capacities rather than the actual physical situation and the term quantum complexity would be more appropriate. For a quantum consciousness theorist the challenge is to try to formulate in a more precise manner this fact. Quantum measurement theory with a finite measurement resolution indeed provide the mathematics necessary for this purpose.

2. What does the transition to quantum chaos mean?

The transition to quantum chaos in the sense the article discusses it means that a system with a large number of virtually independent degrees of freedom (in very general sense) makes a transition to a phase in there is a strong interaction between these degrees of freedom. Perturbative phase becomes non-perturbative. This means emergence of correlations and reduction of the effective dimension of the system to a finite fractal dimension. When correlations become complete and the system becomes a genuine quantum system, the dimension of the system is genuinely reduced and again non-fractal. In this sense one has transition via complexity to new kind of order.

2.1 The level of stationary states

At the level of energy spectrum this means that the energy of system which correspond to sums of virtually independent energies and thus is essentially random number becomes non-random. As a consequence, energy levels tend to avoid each other, order and simplicity emerge but at the collective level. Spectrum of zeros of Zeta has been found to simulate the spectrum for a chaotic system with strong correlations between energy levels. Zeta functions indeed play a key role in the proposed description of quantum criticality associated with the phase transition changing the value of Planck constant.

2.2 The importance of classical periodic orbits in chaotic scattering

Poincare with his immense physical and mathematical intuition foresaw that periodic classical orbits should have a key role also in the description of chaos. The study of complex systems indeed demonstrates that this is the case although the mathematics and physics behind this was not fully understood around 1992 and is probably not so even now. The basic discovery coming from numerical simulations is that the Fourier transform of a chaotic orbits exhibits has peaks the frequencies which correspond to the periods of closed orbits. From my earlier encounters with quantum chaos I remember that there is quantization of periodic orbits so that their periods are proportional to log(p), p prime in suitable units. This suggests a connection of arithmetic quantum field theory and with p-adic length scale hypothesis. Note that in planetary Bohr orbitology any closed orbit can be Bohr orbits with a suitable mass distribution but that velocity spectrum is universal.

The chaotic scattering of electron in atomic lattice is discussed as a concrete example. In the chaotic situation the notion of electron consists of periods spend around some atom continued by a motion along along some classical periodic orbit. This does not however mean loss of quantum coherence in the transitions between these periods: a purely classical model gives non-sensible results in this kind of situation. Only if one sums scattering amplitudes over all piecewise classical orbits (not all paths as one would do in path integral quantization) one obtains a working model.

2.3. In what sense complex systems can be called chaotic?

Speaking about quantum chaos instead of quantum complexity does not seem appropriate to me unless one makes clear that it refers to the limitations of human cognition rather than to physics. If one believes in quantum approach to consciousness, these limitations should reduce to finite resolution of quantum measurement not taken into account in standard quantum measurement theory.

In the framework of hyper-finite factors of type II1 finite quantum measurement resolution is described in terms of inclusions N subset M of the factors and sub-factor N defines what might be called N-rays replacing complex rays of state space. The space M/N has a fractal dimension characterized by quantum phase and increases as quantum phase q=exp(iπ/n), n=3,4,..., approaches unity which means improving measurement resolution since the size of the factor N is reduced.

Fuzzy logic based on quantum qbits applies in the situation since the components of quantum spinor do not commute. At the limit n→∞ one obtains commutativity, ordinary logic, and maximal dimension. The smaller the n the stronger the correlations and the smaller the fractal dimension. In this case the measurement resolution makes the system apparently strongly correlated when n approaches its minimal value n=3 for which fractal dimension equals to 1 and Boolean logic degenerates to single valued totalitarian logic.

Non-commutativity is the most elegant description for the reduction of dimensions and brings in reduced fractal dimensions smaller than the actual dimension. Again the reduction has interpretation as something totally different from chaos: system becomes a single coherent whole with strong but not complete correlation between different degrees of freedom. The interpretation would be that in the transition to non-chaotic quantal behavior correlation becomes complete and the dimension of system again integer valued but smaller. This would correspond to the cases n=6, n=4, and n=3 (D=3,2,1).

3. Quantum chaos in astrophysical scales?

3.1 Quantum criticality

  1. TGD Universe is quantum critical. The most important implication of quantum criticality of TGD Universe is that it fixes the value of Kähler coupling strength, the only free parameter appearing in definition of the theory as the analog of critical temperature. The dark matter hierarchy characterized partially by the increasing values of Planck constant allows to characterize more precisely what quantum criticality might means. By quantum criticality space-time sheets are analogs of Bohr orbits. Since quantum criticality corresponds to P-Q region, the localization of wave functions around generalized Bohr orbits should occur quite generally in some scale.

  2. Elementary p"/public_html/articles/ are maximally quantum critical systems analogous to H2O at tri-critical point and can be said to be in the intersection of imbedding spaces labelled by various values of Planck constants. Planck constant does not characterize the elementary particle proper. Rather, each field body of particle (em, weak, color, gravitational) is characterized by its own Planck constant and this Planck constant characterizes interactions. The generalization of the notion of the imbedding space allows to formulate this idea in precise manner and each sector of imbedding space is characterized by discrete symmetry groups Zn acting in M4 and CP2 degrees of freedom. The transition from quantum to classical corresponds to a reduction of Zn to subgroup Zm, m factor of n. Ruler-and-compass hypothesis implies very powerful predictions for the remnants of this symmetry at the level of visible matter. Note that the reduction of the symmetry in this chaos-to-order transition!

  3. Dark matter hierarchy makes TGD Universe an ideal laboratory for studying P-Q transitions with chaos identified as quantum critical phase between two values of Planck constant with larger value of Planck constant defining the "quantum" phase and smaller value the "classical" phase. Dark matter is localized near Bohr orbits and is analogous to quantum states localized near the periodic classical orbits. Planetary Bohr orbitology provides a particularly interesting astrophysical application of quantum chaos.

  4. The above described picture for chaotic quantums scattering applies quite generally in quantum TGD. Path integral is replaced with a functional integral over classical space-time evolutions and the failure of the complete classical non-determinism is analogous to the transition between classical orbits. Functional integral also reduces to perturbative functional integral around maxima of Kähler function.

3.2 Rings and spokes as the basic building blocks of dark matter structures

The Bohr orbit model for the planetary orbits based on the hierarchy of dark matter relies in an essential manner on the idea that macroscopic quantum phases of dark matter dictate to a high degree the behavior of the visible matter. Dark matter is concentrated on closed classical orbits in the simple rotationally symmetric gravitational potentials involved. Orbits become basic structures instead of points at the level of dark matter. A discrete subgroup Zn of rotational group with very large n characterizes dark matter structures quite generally. At the level of visible matter this symmetry can be broken to approximate symmetry defined by some subgroup of Zn.

Circles and radial spokes are the basic Platonic building blocks of dark matter structures. The interpretation of spokes would be as (gravi-)electric flux tubes. Radial spokes correspond to n=0 states in Bohr quantization for hydrogen atom and orbits ending into atom. Spokes have been observed in planetary rings besides decomposition to narrow rings and also in galactic scale. Also flux tubes of (gravi-)magnetic fields with Zn symmetry define rotational symmetric structures analogous to quantized dipole fields.

Gravi-magnetic flux tubes indeed correspond to circles rather than field lines of a dipole field for the simplest model of gravi-magnetic field, which means deviation from GRT predictions for gravi-magnetic torque on gyroscope outside equator: unfortunately the recent experiments are performed at equator. The flux tubes be seen only as circles orthogonal to the preferred plane and planetary Bohr rules apply automatically also now.

A word of worry is in order here. Ellipses are very natural objects in Bohr orbitology and for a given value of n would give n2-1 additional orbits. In planetary situation they would have very large eccentricities and are not realized. Comets can have closed highly eccentric orbits and correspond to large values of n. In any case, one is forced to ask whether the exactly Zn symmetric objects are too Platonic creatures to live in the harsh real world. Should one at least generalize the definition of the action of Zn as symmetry so that it could rotate the points of ellipse to each other. This might make sense. In the case of dark matter ellipses the radial spokes with Zn symmetry representing radial gravito-electric flux quanta would still connect dark matter ellipse to the central object and the rotation of the spoke structure induces a unique rotation of points at ellipse.

3.3. Dark matter structures as generalization of periodic orbits

The matter with ordinary or smaller value of Planck constant can form bound states with these dark matter structures. The dark matter circles would be the counterparts for the periodic Bohr orbits dictating the behavior of the quantum chaotic system. Visible matter (and more generally, dark matter at the lower levels of hierarchy behaving quantally in shorter length and time scales) tends to stay around these periodic orbits and in the ideal case provides a perfect classical mimicry of quantum behavior. Dark matter structures would effectively serve as selectors of the closed orbits in the gravitational dynamics of visible matter.

As one approaches classicality the binding of the visible matter to dark matter gradually weakens. Mercury's orbit is not quite closed, planetary orbits become ellipses, comets have highly eccentric orbits or even non-closed orbits. For non-closed quantum description in terms of binding to dark matter does not makes sense at all.

The classical regular limit (R) would correspond to a decoupling between dark matter and visible matter. A motion along geodesic line is obtained but without Bohr quantization in gravitational sense since Bohr quantization using ordinary value of Planck constant implies negative energies for GMm>1. The preferred extremal property of the space-time sheet could however still imply some quantization rules but these could apply in "vibrational" degrees of freedom.

3.4 Quantal chaos in gravitational scattering?

The chaotic motion of astrophysical object becomes the counterpart of quantum chaotic scattering. By Equivalence Principle the value of the mass of the object does not matter at all so that the motion of sufficiently light objects in solar system might be understandable only by assuming quantum chaos.

The orbit of a gravitationally unbound object such as comet could define the basic example. The rings of Saturn and Jupiter could represent interesting shorter length scale phenomena possible involving quantum scattering. One can imagine that the visible matter object spends some time around a given dark matter circle (binding to atom), makes a transition along radial spoke to the next circle, and so on.

The prediction is that dark matter forms rings and cart-wheel like structures of astrophysical size. These could become visible in collisions of say galaxies when stars get so large energy as to become gravitationally unbound and in this quantum chaotic regime can flow along spokes to new Bohr orbits or to gravi-magnetic flux tubes orthogonal to the galactic plane. Hoag's object represents a beautiful example ring galaxy. Remarkably, there is also direct evidence for galactic cart-wheels. There are also polar ring galaxies consisting of an ordinary galaxy plus ring approximately orthogonal to it and believed to form in galactic collisions. The ring rotating with the ordinary galaxy can be identified in terms of gravi-magnetic flux tube orthogonal to the galactic plane: in this case Zn symmetry would be completely broken at the level of visible matter.

For more details see the new chapter Quantum Astrophysics .