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.


Spin-gravity coupling for Dirac particles

In search of the measurable effects of gravity on elementary particles


Non-relativistic limit of scalar and Dirac fields in curved spacetime

We give from first principles the non-relativistic limit of scalar and Dirac fields in curved spacetime. We aim to find general relativistic corrections to the quantum theory of particles affected by Newtonian gravity, a regime nowadays experimentally accessible. We believe that the ever-improving measurement accuracy and the theoretical interest in finding general relativistic effects in quantum systems require the introduction of corrections to the Schrödinger-Newtonian theory. We rigorously determine these corrections by the non-relativistic limit of fully relativistic quantum theories in curved spacetime. For curved static spacetimes, we show how a non-inertial observer (equivalently, an observer in the presence of a gravitational field) can distinguish a scalar field from a Dirac field by particle-gravity interaction. We study the Rindler spacetime and discuss the difference between the resulting non-relativistic Hamiltonians. We find that for sufficiently large acceleration, the gravity-spin coupling dominates over the corrections for scalar fields, promoting Dirac particles as the best candidates for observing non-Newtonian gravity in quantum particle phenomenology.

How does an arbitrary quantum state appear to an accelerated observer?

Quantum field theory beyond Minkowski is still largely unexplored, and the links with quantum information are surprising.

We know that the Minkowski vacuum appears as a thermal state in a uniformly accelerated frame (Rindler/Unruh) or in the proximity of a black hole (Hawking).

Beyond Unruh and Hawking radiation, how do quantum states appear to a noninertial observer? We derive a general technique to understand the way acceleration alters Minkowski-Fock states. It turns out that one can use and engineer quantum correlations to measure acceleration. But a lot of work is still needed with advanced mathematical approaches, although these new general results may be useful for many applications.

Minkowski-Fock states in accelerated frames
Riccardo Falcone and Claudio Conti
URL: https://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevD.106.045013
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.106.045013
ArXiv:2208.03481 [hep-th]

An explicit Wigner formulation of Minkowski particle states for non-inertial observers is unknown. Here, we derive a general prescription to compute the characteristic function for Minkowski-Fock states in accelerated frames. For the special case of single-particle and two-particle states, this method enables to derive mean values of particle numbers and correlation function in the momentum space, and the way they are affected by the acceleration of the observer. We show an indistinguishability between Minkowski single-particle and two-particle states in terms of Rindler particle distribution that can be regarded as a way for the observer to detect any acceleration of the frame. We find that for two-particle states the observer is also able to detect acceleration by measuring the correlation between Rindler particles with different momenta.