QFT in curved spacetime permits quantitative predictions for the Unruh effect with hydrogenlike atoms


We consider ionized hydrogenlike atoms accelerated by an external electric field to detect Unruh radiation. By applying quantum field theory in the Rindler space-time, we show that the first-quantized description for hydrogenlike atoms cannot always be adopted. This is due to the frame-dependent definition of particles as positive and negative frequency field modes. We show how to suppress such a frame-dependent effect by constraining the atomic ionization and the electric field. We identify the physical regimes with nonvanishing atomic excitation probability due to the Unruh electromagnetic background. We recognize the observational limits for the Unruh effect via first-quantized atomic detectors, which appear to be compatible with current technology. Notably, the nonrelativistic energy spectrum of the atom cannot induce coupling with the thermal radiation, even when special relativistic and general relativistic corrections are considered. On the contrary, the coupling with the Unruh radiation arises because of relativistic hyperfine splitting and the Zeeman effect.

Dark matter condensates as highly nonlocal solitons: instability in the Schwarzschild metric and laboratory analog

Theories on the bosonic nature of dark matter are a promising alternative to the cold dark matter model. Here we consider a dark matter halo in the state of a Bose-Einstein condensate, subject to the gravitation of a black hole. In the low energy limit, we bring together the general relativity in the Schwarzschild metric and the quantum description of the Bose-Einstein condensate. The model is solvable in the Fermi normal coordinates with the so called highly nonlocal approximation and describes tidal deformations in the condensate wave function. The black hole deforms the localized condensate until the attraction of the compact object overcomes the self-gravitation and destabilizes the solitonic dark matter. Moreover, the model can be implemented as a gravitational analog in the laboratory; the time-dependent potential generated by the galactic black hole can be mimicked by an optical trap acting on a conventional condensate. The results open the way to new laboratory simulators for quantum gravitational effects.


Tunneling the horizon in quantum field theory in curved spacetime


Observing single particles beyond the Rindler horizon

We show that Minkowski single-particle states localized beyond the horizon modify the Unruh thermal distribution in an accelerated frame. This means that, contrary to classical predictions, accelerated observers can reveal particles emitted beyond the horizon. The method we adopt is based on deriving the explicit Wigner characteristic function for the complete description of the quantum field in the noninertial frame and can be generalized to general states.


Minkowski vacuum in Rindler spacetime and Unruh thermal state for Dirac fields

We consider a free Dirac field in flat spacetime and we derive the representation of the Minkowski vacuum as an element of the Rindler-Fock space. We also compute the statistical operator obtained by tracing away the left wedge. We detail the resulting thermal state for fermionic particles.


Frame-dependence of the non-relativistic limit of quantum fields

We study the non-relativistic limit of quantum fields for an inertial and a non-inertial observer. We show that non-relativistic particle states appear as a superposition of relativistic and non-relativistic particles in different frames. Hence, the non-relativistic limit is frame-dependent. We detail this result when the non-inertial observer has uniform constant acceleration. Only for low accelerations, the accelerated observer agrees with the inertial frame about the non-relativistic nature of particles locally. In such a quasi-inertial regime, both observers agree about the number of particles describing quantum field states. The same does not occur when the acceleration is arbitrarily large (e.g., the Unruh effect). We furthermore prove that wave functions of particles in the inertial and the quasi-inertial frame are identical up to the coordinate transformation relating the two frames.