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Crystal clear lessons on the microstructure of spacetime and modified gravity

F. S. N. Lobo, G. J. Olmo, D. Rubiera-Garcia

We argue that a microscopic structure for spacetime such as that expected in a quantum foam scenario, in which microscopic wormholes and other topological structures should play a relevant role, might lead to an effective metric-affine geometry at larger scales. This idea is supported by the role that microscopic defects play in crystalline structures. With an explicit model, we show that wormhole formation is possible in a metric-affine scenario, where the wormhole and the matter fields play a role analogous to that of defects in crystals. Such wormholes also arise in Born-Infeld gravity, which is favored by an analogy with the estimated mass of a point defect in condensed matter systems. We also point out that in metric-affine geometries, Einstein's equations with an effective cosmological constant appear as an attractor in the vacuum limit for a vast family of theories of gravity. This illustrates how lessons from solid state physics can be useful in unveiling the properties of the microcosmos and defining new avenues for modified theories of gravity.

Physical Review D
Volume 91, Issue 12, Page 124001
2015 June

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia