This could actually put into practice Stephen Hawkin’s radiation theory.
The things that science and technology are capable of never cease to amaze us. This time they have been able to create a new type of black hole analog that could provide new information about an elusive radiation that would theoretically be emitted by a real black hole through a string of atoms that simulates the event horizon of a black hole, observing the equivalent of Hawking radiation.
Hawking radiation and black holes
Black holes, which are possibly the most extreme objects in the Universe, are so incredibly dense that within a certain distance from the center of mass of the black hole, no speed is sufficient to escape, not even the speed of light.
The distance it would give as a function of the mass of the black hole is called the event horizon. Once an object crosses this limit we can only imagine what happens because nothing comes back with vital information. But, in 1974, Stephen Hawking proposed that the interruptions of quantum fluctuations caused by the event horizon give rise to radiation similar to thermal radiation.
This Hawking radiation is particles born from the perturbations in the quantum fluctuations caused by the rupture of space-time of the black hole, and if true, its existence is still too weak to be detected.
False black hole event horizons on Earth
The team led by Lotte Mertens of the University of Amsterdam has created a one-dimensional chain of atoms that serves as a path for electrons to jump from one position to another. By adjusting the ease of this jump, the physicists were able to make certain of its properties disappear, creating events that would interfere with the wave nature of the electrons.
This false event horizon effect created a temperature rise that matched the theoretical expectations of an equivalent black hole system, but this only happened when part of the string extended beyond the event horizon. These results suggest that Hawking radiation can only be thermal within a range of situations and when there is a change in the space-time deformation due to gravity.
The model offers a way to study the appearance of Hawking radiation in an environment that is not influenced by the wild dynamics of a black hole. “This may open an avenue to explore fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics along with gravity and curved spacetimes in various condensed matter environments,” the researchers wrote.
In addition, this could help resolve the tension between two currently unrecognizable frameworks for describing the universe, which is the general theory of relativity that describes the behavior of gravity as a continuous field known as space-time, and quantum mechanics that describes the behavior of discrete particles using the mathematics of probability.
To achieve a unified theory of gravity, these two theories have to find a way to coexist with each other.
Story originally published in Spanish in Ecoosfera