Friday, December 25, 2009

Relation betwen the Sokolov–Ternov effect and the Unruh effect

I have been disucisong in my other (and in the miguis forum) the proposal of Crane to use a black hole as an starship impulsor, bases on his arxiv article: ARE BLACK HOLE STARSHIPS POSSIBLE?.

You can read (if you understand spanish) the three post about the suject: 1 , 2 and 3.

While discusing that papers I have ben reading in wikipedia about it's litle brother, the Unruh effect.

As explained there in detaill that effect consist of the observance of thermal radiation by an acelerated observed of what is vaccum for an stationary observer. The temperature of the radiation is proportional to the aceleration: $$T=ha/4\pi^2ck $$ (k is the bolstman constant, the other quantities have their obvious meaning).

To my surprise in the entry is mentioned that there is a claim that the radiation has been observed. In particular it has been claimed to be observed in the Sokolov–Ternov effect: the effect of self-polarization of relativistic electrons or positrons moving at high energy in a magnetic field. The self-polarization occurs through the emission of spin-flip synchrotron radiation. and, in particular:

it was shown that if one takes an accelerated observer to be an electron circularly orbiting in a constant external magnetic field, then the experimentally verified Sokolov-Ternov effect coincides with the Unruh effect.

This results date back to 2005, so they are not new at all. And I am almost sure that they are controversial or someone would have a nobel prize for it ;-). The whole thing is that despite I try to be informed, I have no idea about it. Maybe other readers of the blog also were unaware of it and they could be curious to know.

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