Spectral dimension of a quantum universe

Leonardo Modesto, Piero Nicolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we calculate in a transparent way the spectral dimension of a quantum spacetime, considering a diffusion process propagating on a fluctuating manifold. To describe the erratic path of the diffusion, we implement a minimal length by averaging the graininess of the quantum manifold in the flat space case. As a result we obtain that, for large diffusion times, the quantum spacetime behaves like a smooth differential manifold of discrete dimension. On the other hand, for smaller diffusion times, the spacetime looks like a fractal surface with a reduced effective dimension. For the specific case in which the diffusion time has the size of the minimal length, the spacetime turns out to have a spectral dimension equal to 2, suggesting a possible renormalizable character of gravity in this regime. For smaller diffusion times, the spectral dimension approaches zero, making any physical interpretation less reliable in this extreme regime. We extend our result to the presence of a background field and curvature. We show that in this case the spectral dimension has a more complicated relation with the diffusion time, and conclusions about the renormalizable character of gravity become less straightforward with respect to what we found with the flat space analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104040
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 21 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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