, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 199-220

Particle creation by black holes

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Abstract

In the classical theory black holes can only absorb and not emit particles. However it is shown that quantum mechanical effects cause black holes to create and emit particles as if they were hot bodies with temperature \(\frac{{h\kappa }}{{2\pi k}} \approx 10^{ - 6} \left( {\frac{{M_ \odot }}{M}} \right){}^ \circ K\) where κ is the surface gravity of the black hole. This thermal emission leads to a slow decrease in the mass of the black hole and to its eventual disappearance: any primordial black hole of mass less than about 1015 g would have evaporated by now. Although these quantum effects violate the classical law that the area of the event horizon of a black hole cannot decrease, there remains a Generalized Second Law:S+1/4A never decreases whereS is the entropy of matter outside black holes andA is the sum of the surface areas of the event horizons. This shows that gravitational collapse converts the baryons and leptons in the collapsing body into entropy. It is tempting to speculate that this might be the reason why the Universe contains so much entropy per baryon.

Communicated by J. Ehlers