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MiS Preprint

Quantum physics, fields and closed timelike curves: The D-CTC condition in quantum field theory

Jürgen Tolksdorf and Rainer Verch


The D-CTC condition is a condition originally proposed by David Deutsch as a condition on states of a quantum communication network that contains "backward timesteps" in some of its branches. It has been argued that this is an analogue for quantum processes in the presence of closed timelike curves (CTCs). The unusual properties of states of quantum communication networks that fulfill the D-CTC condition have been discussed extensively in recent literature. In this work, the D-CTC condition is investigated in the framework of quantum field theory in the local, operator-algebraic approach due to Haag and Kastler. It is shown that the D-CTC condition cannot be fulfilled in states which are analytic for the energy, or satisfy the Reeh-Schlieder property, for a certain class of processes and initial conditions. On the other hand, if a quantum field theory admits sufficiently many uncorrelated states across acausally related spacetime regions (as implied by the split property), then the D-CTC condition can always be fulfilled approximately to arbitrary precision. As this result pertains to quantum field theory on globally hyperbolic spacetimes where CTCs are absent, one may conclude that interpreting the D-CTC condition as characteristic for quantum processes in the presence of CTCs could be misleading, and should be regarded with caution. Furthermore, a construction of the quantized massless Klein-Gordon field on the Politzer spacetime, often viewed as spacetime analogue for quantum communication networks with backward time-steps, is proposed in this work.


Related publications

2018 Repository Open Access
Jürgen Tolksdorf and Rainer Verch

Quantum physics, fields and closed timelike curves : the D-CTC condition in quantum field theory

In: Communications in mathematical physics, 357 (2018) 1, pp. 319-351