Document Type


Publication Date



The operational approach to time is a cornerstone of relativistic theories, as evidenced by the notion of proper time. In standard quantum mechanics, however, time is an external parameter. Recently, many attempts have been made to extend the notion of proper time to quantum mechanics within a relational framework. Here, we use similar ideas combined with the relativistic mass-energy equivalence to study an accelerating massive quantum particle with an internal clock system. We show that the ensuing evolution from the perspective of the particle’s internal clock is non-Hermitian. This result does not rely on specific implementations of the clock. As a particular consequence, we prove that the effective Hamiltonian of two gravitationally interacting particles is non-Hermitian from the perspective of the clock of either particle.


This article was originally published in Communications Physics, volume 5, in 2022.

Peer Reviewed



The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.