A new type of black hole analog could tell us something about the theoretically elusive radiation emitted by a real object.
Using a string of atoms in a single file to model a black hole’s event horizon, a team of physicists observed the equivalent of what we call Hawking radiation – particles produced by perturbations of quantum fluctuations caused by the black hole’s destruction in spacetime. .
This, they say, could help resolve the contradiction between two currently irreconcilable concepts for describing the universe: general relativity, which describes the behavior of gravity as a continuous field known as spacetime; and quantum mechanics, which describes the behavior of discrete particles using the mathematics of probability.
For a universally applicable unified theory of quantum gravity, these two theories, which do not mix, must find a way to somehow reconcile each other.
This is where black holes come into play, perhaps the strangest and most extreme phenomena in the universe. These massive objects are so dense that there is not enough speed to get away from them in the universe, at a certain distance from the black hole’s center of mass.
This distance, which depends on the mass of the black hole, is called the event horizon. Once the body goes beyond its limits, we can only imagine what happens, since nothing returns vital information about its fate. But in 1974, Stephen Hawking proposed his vision that the gaps in quantum fluctuations caused by the event horizon give rise to a type of radiation very similar to thermal radiation.
And if Hawking radiation exists, it’s still too weak for us to detect. But we can explore its properties by creating analogues of a black hole in the laboratory.
This has been done before, but now a team led by Lotte Mertens from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands has done something new.
A chain of one-dimensional atoms served as a trajectory for electrons to “jump” from one place to another. By adjusting the ease with which this mobility can occur, physicists can cause certain properties to disappear, effectively creating a kind of event horizon that is superimposed on the undulating nature of electrons.
The team said the effect of this false event horizon resulted in a temperature increase that is in line with theoretical predictions for an equivalent black hole system, but only when part of the chain escapes the event horizon.
This could mean that entanglement of particles extending beyond the event horizon is useful for generating Hawking radiation.
Thermally simulated Hawking radiation represented only a certain range of amplitude jumps, and in simulations that began to model a kind of space-time, it is considered “flat”. This indicates that Hawking radiation can only be convective in a number of situations where there is a curvature of space-time due to gravity.
It’s not clear what this means for quantum gravity, but the model offers a way to study the appearance of Hawking radiation in a medium unaffected by the wild dynamics of black hole formation. Because it is so simple, it can be run under a wide variety of experimental conditions, the researchers said.
“This could open the way for studying fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics beyond gravity and curvilinear voids in various condensed matter conditions,” the researchers write.
Research published in the journal Physical Review Study.
Source: Science Alert