Radioactive beams and inverse kinematics: Probing the quantal texture of the nuclear vacuum

  • F. Barranco
  • G. PotelEmail author
  • E. Vigezzi
  • R. A. Broglia
Regular Article - Theoretical Physics


The properties of the quantum electrodynamic (QED) vacuum in general, and of the nuclear vacuum (ground) state in particular, are determined by virtual processes implying the excitation of a photon and of an electron-positron pair in the first case and of, for example, the excitation of a collective quadrupole surface vibration and a particle-hole pair in the nuclear case. Signals of these processes can be detected in the laboratory in terms of what can be considered a nuclear analogue of Hawking radiation. An analogy which extends to other physical processes involving QED vacuum fluctuations like the Lamb shift, pair creation by \(\gamma\)-rays, van der Waals forces and the Casimir effect, to the extent that one concentrates on the eventual outcome resulting by forcing a virtual process to become real, and not on the role of the black hole in defining the event horizon. In the nuclear case, the role of this event is taken over at a microscopic and fully quantum mechanical level, by nuclear probes (reactions) acting on virtual particles of the zero point fluctuations (ZPF) of the nuclear vacuum in a similar irreversible, no-return, fashion as the event horizon does, letting the other particle, entangled with the first one, escape to infinity, and eventually be detected. With this proviso in mind one can posit that the reactions 1H(11Be,10Be(2+;3.37MeV))2H and 1H(11Li,9Li(1/2-;2.69MeV))3H together with the associated \( \gamma\)-decay processes indicate a possible nuclear analogy of Hawking radiation.


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Copyright information

© Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Barranco
    • 1
  • G. Potel
    • 2
    Email author
  • E. Vigezzi
    • 3
  • R. A. Broglia
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Departamento de Fìsica Aplicada III, Escuela Superior de IngenierosUniversidad de SevillaSevillaSpain
  2. 2.National Superconducting Cyclotron LaboratoryMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.INFN Sezione di MilanoMilanoItaly
  4. 4.The Niels Bohr InstituteUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Dipartimento di FisicaUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

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