International Light Cone Advisory Committee


Insights from Light-Front Quantization on the Unruh Effect

by Alexandre Deur (JLab)


We discuss the Unruh effect, i.e., the possibility that the virtual particles widely believed to populate a quantum vacuum can be observed from an accelerated frame. However, as well known, quantum loops are not present when the vacuum is analyzed using the light-front (LF) form. Analyzing the Unruh effect in using LF shows that, since the light-front vacuum is effectively empty, there is no Unruh effect, i.e., acceleration has no effect on a trivial vacuum. Since the standard Instant-Form (IF) calculations suggesting an Unruh effect are formally consistent, there must be a cancelling contribution omitted in the IF analyses. A ready candidate for such cancelation is the dynamical action of IF Lorentz transformations on the structure of an Unruh detector.

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