What is the Entropy in Entropic Gravity?

Sean M. Carroll, Grant N. Remmen
We investigate theories in which gravity arises as an entropic force. We distinguish between two approaches to this idea: holographic gravity, in which Einstein’s equation arises from keeping entropy stationary in equilibrium under variations of the geometry and quantum state of a small region, and thermodynamic gravity, in which Einstein’s equation emerges as a local equation of state from constraints on the area of a dynamical lightsheet in a fixed spacetime background.
Examining holographic gravity, we argue that its underlying assumptions can be justified in part using recent results on the form of the modular energy in quantum field theory. For thermodynamic gravity, on the other hand, we find that it is difficult to formulate a self-consistent definition of the entropy, which represents an obstacle for this approach. This investigation points the way forward in understanding the connections between gravity and entanglement (…)

The idea that gravity can be thought of as an entropic force is an attractive one. In this paper we have distinguished between two different ways of implementing this idea: holographic gravity, which derives the Einstein equation from constraints on the boundary entanglement after varying over different states in the theory, and thermodynamic gravity, which relates the time evolution of a cross-sectional area to the entropy passing through a null surface in a specified spacetime.
We argued that holographic gravity is a consistent formulation and indeed that recent work on the modular hamiltonian in quantum field theory provides additional support for its underlying assumptions. The thermodynamic approach, on the other hand, seems to suffer from a difficulty in providing a self-consistent definition for what the appropriate entropy is going to be.
In the title of this work, we asked, “What is the entropy in entropic gravity?” We are now equipped to answer this question. In what we have called “holographic gravity,” the vacuum subtracted von Neumann entanglement entropy (the Casini entropy), evaluated on the null surfaces of the causal diamond, provides an appropriate formulation for an entropic treatment of gravitation. This can help guide further attempts to understand the underlying microscopic degrees of freedom giving rise to gravitation in general spacetime backgrounds.
… Read more at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1601.07558v1.pdf


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