Experimental observation of acceleration-induced thermality

Morgan H. Lynch, Eliahu Cohen, Yaron Hadad, Ido Kaminer

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9 Scopus citations


We examine the radiation emitted by high-energy positrons channeled into silicon crystal samples. The positrons are modeled as semiclassical vector currents coupled to an Unruh-DeWitt detector to incorporate any local change in the energy of the positron. In the subsequent accelerated QED analysis, we discover a Larmor formula and power spectrum that are both thermalized by the acceleration. Thus, these systems explicitly exhibit thermalization of the detector energy gap at the celebrated Fulling-Davies-Unruh (FDU) temperature. Our derived power spectrum, with a nonzero energy gap, is then shown to have an excellent statistical agreement with high-energy channeling experiments and also provides a method to directly measure the FDU temperature. We also investigate the Rindler horizon dynamics and confirm that the Bekenstein-Hawking area-entropy law is satisfied in these experiments. As such, we present the evidence for the first observation of acceleration-induced thermality in a nonanalog system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number025015
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank George Matsas, Ulrik Uggerhoj, Niayesh Afshordi, Jorma Louko, Ted Jacobson, Alejandro Satz, Gabriel Cozzella, Moti Segev, Jeff Steinhauer, Germain Rousseaux, Christian Nielson, Yaniv Kurman, and Alexey Gorlach for their valuable input and Tobias Wistisen for sending us the experimental data. We are also indebted to an anonymous referee for many helpful comments that helped to improve our manuscript. This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) Grant No. 830/19 and the ERC starting Grant No. NanoEP 851780 from the European Research Council. E. C. was supported by Grant No. FQXi-RFP-CPW-2006 from the Foundational Questions Institute and Fetzer Franklin Fund, a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Israel Innovation Authority under Projects No. 70002 and No. 73795, the Quantum Science and Technology Program of the Israeli Council of Higher Education, and the Pazy Foundation. E. C. acknowledges helpful discussions with the Bristol reading group regarding the Unruh effect. M. H. L. was supported at the Technion by a Zuckerman fellowship.

Funding Information:
Israel Science Foundation H2020 European Research Council Foundational Questions Institute Fetzer Franklin Fund Silicon Valley Community Foundation Israel Innovation Authority Council for Higher Education PAZY Foundation

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Physical Society


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