Reality Conditions

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yet more Shameless Self-Promotion

Transition rate of the Unruh-DeWitt detector in curved spacetime

Jorma Louko, Alejandro Satz

Abstract: We examine the Unruh-DeWitt particle detector coupled to a scalar field in an arbitrary Hadamard state in four-dimensional curved spacetime. Using smooth switching functions to turn on and off the interaction, we obtain a regulator-free integral formula for the total excitation probability, and we show that an instantaneous transition rate can be recovered in a suitable limit. Previous results in Minkowski space are recovered as a special case. As applications, we consider an inertial detector in the Rindler vacuum and a detector at rest in a static Newtonian gravitational field. Gravitational corrections to decay rates in atomic physics laboratory experiments on the surface of the Earth are estimated to be suppressed by 42 orders of magnitude.

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