Skip to content Skip to footer

Underground Tests of Quantum Mechanics by the VIP Collaboration at Gran Sasso

Symmetry 15, 480 (2023)

Fabrizio Napolitano et al

Modern physics lays its foundations on the pillars of Quantum Mechanics (QM), which has been proven successful to describe the microscopic world of atoms and particles, leading to the construction of the Standard Model. Despite the big success, the old open questions at its very heart, such as the measurement problem and the wave function collapse, are still open. Various theories consider scenarios which could encompass a departure from the predictions of the standard QM, such as extra-dimensions or deformations of the Lorentz/Poincaré symmetries. At the Italian National Gran Sasso underground Laboratory LNGS, we search for evidence of new physics proceeding from models beyond standard QM, using radiation detectors. Collapse models addressing the foundations of QM, such as the gravity-related Diósi–Penrose (DP) and Continuous Spontaneous Localization (CSL) models, predict the emission of spontaneous radiation, which allows experimental tests. Using a high-purity Germanium detector, we could exclude the natural parameterless version of the DP model and put strict bounds on the CSL one. In addition, forbidden atomic transitions could prove a possible violation of the Pauli Exclusion Principle (PEP) in open and closed systems. The VIP-2 experiment is currently in operation, aiming at detecting PEP-violating signals in Copper with electrons; the VIP-3 experiment upgrade is foreseen to become operative in the next few years. We discuss the VIP-Lead experiment on closed systems, and the strong bounds it sets on classes of non-commutative quantum gravity theories, such as the 𝜃–Poincaré theory.


Project manager
Irene Spagnul
Department of Physics
University of Trieste


Co-funded by the European Commission’s
Horizon Europe Programme under GA 101046973

QuCoM-Quantum Control of Gravity with Levitated Mechanics © 2024. All Rights Reserved.