Scientific Results

Quantum vacuum emission in a nonlinear optical medium illuminated by a strong laser pulse

Year: 2013

Authors: Finazzi S., Carusotto I.

Autors Affiliation: INO-CNR BEC Center and Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Trento, via Sommarive 14, 38123 Povo-Trento, Italy

Abstract: A strong light pulse propagating in a nonlinear Kerr medium produces a change in the refractive index, which makes light travel at different speeds inside and outside the pulse. By tuning the pulse velocity, an analog black hole horizon can be obtained in a suitable frequency window. In this paper, we develop a quantum theory of light propagation for this system, including the frequency dispersion of the refractive index of the medium by coupling the electromagnetic field to matter polarization fields. In a configuration with a single black hole horizon, the spectrum of spontaneously emitted particles presents some similarities with Hawking radiation. Furthermore, even in horizonless systems spontaneous vacuum emission is still possible due to the dispersive nature of the medium, yet with dramatically different spectral properties. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.87.023803


Volume: 87 (2)      Pages from: 023803  to: 023803

More Information: We are grateful to D. Faccio for many discussions and explanations about his experiment [9,10] and for helpful suggestions to improve the readability of the manuscript. We thank R. Balbinot for continuous exchanges and helpful comments about field transformations in a Lagrangian theory, R. Parentani for valuable suggestions about canonical quantization and mode normalization, and S. Liberati and A. Prain for many discussions about the experiment of Ref. [9]. We also thank W. G. Unruh and R. Schutzhold for stimulating discussions during the workshop on Effective Gravity in Fluids and Superfluids at ICTP, Trieste. This work has been supported by ERC through the QGBE grant.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.87.023803

Citations: 29
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