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Hawking radiation in the laboratory: quantum field theory in singular media


Quantum field theory and general relativity are two fundamental theories of modern physics. Experimental studies of quantum field theory in curved space-time, however, are not yet possible and seem extremely difficult. For example, the famous prediction of Hawking, the emergence of thermal radiation from the event horizon of aback hole, could not have been observed up till now. An alternative way of studying Hawking radiation and related phenomena is based on the analogy between gravity and moving media. Two decades ago Unruh pointed out the existence of an effective metric for sound waves in moving fluids. Recent advances in controlling quintile wave propagation in various media in the laboratory have revived interest in analogue Hawking radiation. Propagation of quintile sound-like excitations in moving Base-Einstein condensates is a promising candidate for such experiments. The event horizon corresponds to the surface where the fluid velocity crosses the local speed of sound. That point corresponds to singular behaviour in the wave equation. The wave catastrophe is avoided by the breakdown of the sound wave approximation and thus the effective metric. The related phenomenon in general relativity is known as the notorious trans-Planck Ian problem. In quantum fluids the next order of approximation is available and has been studied by us. Our aim is to extend our previous calculations based on a quasi-one-dimensional flow and linear velocity profile. We plan to consider the realistic cases and also 2D and 3D fluid geometries keeping in mind the possible experimental realizations. We intend to adapt the semi-classical methods we have developed during the past two years using the WKBsolution for the mode functions. Numerical solutions of the hydrodynamic and the Bogoliubov - de Gennesequations will be carried out to support the analytic theory. Various other laboratory systems have been proposed to show analogue Hawkins radiate#

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