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Pair production from the vacuum by a weakly inhomogeneous space-dependent electric potential S. P. Gavrilov, D. M. Gitman, A. A. Shishmarev

By: Gavrilov, Sergey PContributor(s): Gitman, Dmitri M | Shishmarev, A. AMaterial type: ArticleArticleSubject(s): вакуумная нестабильность | электрон-позитронные пары | внешние электрические поляGenre/Form: статьи в журналах Online resources: Click here to access online In: Physical Review D Vol. 99, № 11. P. 116014-1-116014-14Abstract: There exists a clear physical motivation for theoretical studies of the vacuum instability related to the production of electron-positron pairs from a vacuum due to strong external electric fields. Various nonperturbative (with respect to the external fields) calculation methods were developed. Some of these methods are based on possible exact solutions of the Dirac equation. Unfortunately, there are only few cases when such solutions are known. Recently, an approximate but still nonperturbative approach to treat the vacuum instability caused by slowly varying t-electric potential steps (time dependent external fields that vanish as jtj → ∞), which does not depend on the existence of the corresponding exact solutions, was formulated in the reference [S. P. Gavrilov, D. M. Gitman, Phys. Rev. D 95, 076013 (2017)]. Here, we present an approximate calculation method to treat nonperturbatively the vacuum instability in arbitrary weakly inhomogeneous x-electric potential steps (time-independent electric fields of a constant direction that are concentrated in restricted space areas, which means that the fields vanish as jxj → ∞) in the absence of the corresponding exact solutions. Defining the weakly inhomogeneous regime in general terms, we demonstrate the universal character of the vacuum instability. This universality is associated with a large density of states excited from the vacuum by the electric field. Such a density appears in our approach as a large parameter. We derive universal representations for the total number and current density of the created particles. Relations of these representations with a locally constant field approximation for Schwinger’s effective action are found.
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There exists a clear physical motivation for theoretical studies of the vacuum instability related to the production of electron-positron pairs from a vacuum due to strong external electric fields. Various nonperturbative (with respect to the external fields) calculation methods were developed. Some of these methods are based on possible exact solutions of the Dirac equation. Unfortunately, there are only few cases when such solutions are known. Recently, an approximate but still nonperturbative approach to treat the vacuum instability caused by slowly varying t-electric potential steps (time dependent external fields that vanish as jtj → ∞), which does not depend on the existence of the corresponding exact solutions, was formulated in the reference [S. P. Gavrilov, D. M. Gitman, Phys. Rev. D 95, 076013 (2017)]. Here, we present an approximate calculation method to treat nonperturbatively the vacuum instability in arbitrary weakly inhomogeneous x-electric potential steps (time-independent electric fields of a constant direction that are concentrated in restricted space areas, which means that the fields vanish as jxj → ∞) in the absence of the corresponding exact solutions. Defining the weakly inhomogeneous regime in general terms, we demonstrate the universal character of the vacuum instability. This universality is associated with a large density of states excited from the vacuum by the electric field. Such a density appears in our approach as a large parameter. We derive universal representations for the total number and current density of the created particles. Relations of these representations with a locally constant field approximation for Schwinger’s effective action are found.

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