Scientists created a black hole in the lab, and then it began to glow

(ORDO NEWS) — A new kind of black hole analog could tell us something about the elusive radiation theoretically emitted by the real thing.

Using a string of atoms in a row to simulate a black hole’s event horizon, a group of physicists have observed the equivalent of what we call Hawking radiation – particles born from perturbations of quantum fluctuations caused by a black hole tearing apart in space-time.

This, they say, could help resolve tensions between two currently irreconcilable frameworks for describing the universe: general relativity, which describes the behavior of gravity as a continuous field known as spacetime; and quantum mechanics, which describes the behavior of discrete particles using the mathematics of probability.

For a unified theory of quantum gravity that can be applied everywhere, these two immiscible theories must find a way to get along somehow. .

This is where black holes come into play, perhaps the strangest and most extreme objects in the universe. These massive objects are so incredibly dense that at a certain distance from the center of mass of a black hole, no amount of speed in the universe is sufficient to escape. Not even at the speed of light.

This distance, which depends on the mass of the black hole, is called the event horizon. Once an object crosses its boundary, we can only guess what happens, as nothing is returned with vital information about its fate. But in 1974, Stephen Hawking suggested that interruptions in quantum fluctuations caused by the event horizon result in a type of radiation very similar to thermal radiation.

If this Hawking radiation exists, it is too weak for us to detect. for now. We may never weed it out from the hissing static of the universe. But we can explore its properties by creating analogues of a black hole in the laboratory.

This has been done before, but now a team led by Lotte Mertens from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands has done something new.

The one -dimensional chain of atoms served as a path along which the electrons “jumped” from one position to another.

By tweaking the ease with which this jump can occur, physicists could make certain properties disappear, effectively creating a kind of event horizon that interfered with the undulating nature of the electrons.

The team said the effect of this fake event horizon resulted in a temperature rise that was in line with theoretical expectations of an equivalent black hole system, but only when part of the chain expanded. beyond the event horizon.

This could mean that the entanglement of particles that cross the event horizon plays an important role in the generation of Hawking radiation.

The simulated Hawking radiation was thermal only for a certain range of jump amplitudes and in a simulation that started with a simulated space-time considered “flat”.

This suggests that Hawking radiation can only be thermal in a number of situations and when there is a change in the curvature of space-time due to gravity.

It’s not clear what this means for quantum gravity, but the Model offers a way to study the occurrence of Hawking radiation in a medium that is not affected by the wild dynamics of black hole formation.

The researchers said that because it is so simple, it can be used in a wide variety of experimental setups.

“This could open up a place to study fundamental quantum mechanical aspects along with gravity. and curved space-time in various conditions of condensed matter,” the researchers write.


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