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

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  24 Mar 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 3, e1601858
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601858

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


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.

  • Superradiance
  • Astronomical masers
  • Entangled quantum mechanical states

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.

View Full Text