348 research outputs found

    The analogue cosmological constant in Bose-Einstein condensates: a lesson for quantum gravity

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    For almost a century, the cosmological constant has been a mysterious object, in relation to both its origin and its very small value. By using a Bose-Einstein condensate analogue model for gravitational dynamics, we address here the cosmological constant issue from an analogue gravity standpoint. Starting from the fundamental equations describing a system of condensed bosons, we highlight the presence of a vacuum source term for the analogue gravitational field, playing the role of a cosmological constant. In this simple system it is possible to compute from scratch the value of this constant, to compare it with other characteristic energy scales and hence address the problem of its magnitude within this framework, suggesting a different path for the solution of this longstanding puzzle. We find that, even though this constant term is related with quantum vacuum effects, it is not immediately related to the ground state energy of the condensate. On the gravity side this result suggests that the interpretation and computation of the cosmological term as a form of renormalized vacuum energy might be misleading, its origin being related to the mechanism that instead produces spacetime from its pregeometric progenitor, shedding a different light on the subject and at the same time suggesting a potentially relevant role of analogue models in the understanding of quantum gravity.Comment: 24 pages, 1 figure, Proceedings of the II Amazonian Symposium on Physic

    Entropy and Topology for Gravitational Instantons

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    In this work a relation between topology and thermodynamical features of gravitational instantons is shown. The expression for the Euler characteristic, through the Gauss-Bonnet integral, and the one for the entropy of gravitational instantons are proposed in a form that makes the relation between them self-evident. A new formulation of the Bekenstein-Hawking formula, where the entropy and the Euler characteristic are related by S=χA/8S=\chi A/8, is obtained. This formula provides the correct results for a wide class of gravitational instantons described by both spherically and axially symmetric metrics.Comment: 25 pages, RevTeX, accepted for publication in Phys. Rev.

    Perturbative superluminal censorship and the null energy condition

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    We argue that ``effective'' superluminal travel, potentially caused by the tipping over of light cones in Einstein gravity, is always associated with violations of the null energy condition (NEC). This is most easily seen by working perturbatively around Minkowski spacetime, where we use linearized Einstein gravity to show that the NEC forces the light cones to contract (narrow). Given the NEC, the Shapiro time delay in any weak gravitational field is always a delay relative to the Minkowski background, and never an advance. Furthermore, any object travelling within the lightcones of the weak gravitational field is similarly delayed with respect to the minimum traversal time possible in the background Minkowski geometry.Comment: 5 pages. Uses AIP proceedings style (aipproc.sty). To appear in the Proceedings of the Eighth Canadian Conference on General Relativity and Relativistic Astrophysics. (McGill University, Montreal, June 1999). To be published by AIP Pres

    Towards the observation of Hawking radiation in Bose--Einstein condensates

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    Acoustic analogues of black holes (dumb holes) are generated when a supersonic fluid flow entrains sound waves and forms a trapped region from which sound cannot escape. The surface of no return, the acoustic horizon, is qualitatively very similar to the event horizon of a general relativity black hole. In particular Hawking radiation (a thermal bath of phonons with temperature proportional to the ``surface gravity'') is expected to occur. In this note we consider quasi-one-dimensional supersonic flow of a Bose--Einstein condensate (BEC) in a Laval nozzle (converging-diverging nozzle), with a view to finding which experimental settings could magnify this effect and provide an observable signal. We identify an experimentally plausible configuration with a Hawking temperature of order 70 n K; to be contrasted with a condensation temperature of the order of 90 n K.Comment: revtex4; 5 pages in double-column forma

    Quantum Gravity Phenomenology and Lorentz Violation

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    If quantum gravity violates Lorentz symmetry, the prospects for observational guidance in understanding quantum gravity improve considerably. This article briefly reviews previous work on Lorentz violation (LV) and discusses aspects of the effective field theory framework for parametrizing LV effects. Current observational constraints on LV are then summarized, focusing on effects in QED at order E/M_Planck.Comment: 16 pages, Expanded version of a lecture by T. Jacobson, to be published in Particle Physics and the Universe, Proceedings of the 9th Adriatic Meeting, eds. J.Trampetic and J.Wess (Springer-Verlag, 2004

    Analogue models for FRW cosmologies

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    It is by now well known that various condensed matter systems may be used to mimic many of the kinematic aspects of general relativity, and in particular of curved-spacetime quantum field theory. In this essay we will take a look at what would be needed to mimic a cosmological spacetime -- to be precise a spatially flat FRW cosmology -- in one of these analogue models. In order to do this one needs to build and control suitable time dependent systems. We discuss here two quite different ways to achieve this goal. One might rely on an explosion, physically mimicking the big bang by an outflow of whatever medium is being used to carry the excitations of the analogue model, but this idea appears to encounter dynamical problems in practice. More subtly, one can avoid the need for any actual physical motion (and avoid the dynamical problems) by instead adjusting the propagation speed of the excitations of the analogue model. We shall focus on this more promising route and discuss its practicality.Comment: This essay was awarded an "honourable mention" in the 2003 essay competition of the Gravity Research Foundation. Uses revtex4; 6 pages in single-column forma
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