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Can extremely charged objects simulate some black hole effects?

  1. Jul 18, 2012 #1
    If we had a positive point charge of incredible quantity, does there exist an imaginary sphere about it, such that regardless of the initial speed and direction of any electron, that electron could not escape spiraling into the positive point charge?

    Conversely, regardless of the initial speed and direction of a proton (even if it's position starts from within the imaginary shell), it's path could never intersect with the position of the point charge?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 18, 2012 #2
    A highly charged sphere could in principle have "vacuum sparking" effects. The sphere can give off electrons or holes caused by the electric field near the surface pulling virtual positronium atoms apart. If the charge of the sphere was positive, for example, then sphere could give off positrons while becoming neutral. Virtual electrons would become real in the sphere, lowering the charge.
    This would be somewhat analogous to the "Hawking hole". According to Hawking, a small black hole would evaporate due to quantum effects. The black hole would capture virtual particles in the vacuum, releasing their antiparticles in the "real" world.
  4. Jul 19, 2012 #3
    Has this ever been observed in experiments? I would imagine such an object would neutralize through the process you described in a mere fraction of a second.

    Also, could this possibly be one reasons why the universe is dominated by matter instead of antimatter? I would imagine that the magnetic field at the instant of the Big Bang was rather --- intense.
  5. Jul 19, 2012 #4


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    This is known as the Schwinger-pair creation mechanism and is a very ineteresting prediction of quantum field theory (here QED). So far, nobody has ever reached the very high electromagnetic fields necessary to demonstrate this experimentally, let alone in an electrostatic setting. As far as I know, laser physicists work on high-intensity lasers, with which one maybe able to demonstrate the effect. The original Schwinger paper is

    J. Schwinger, On gauge invariance and vacuum polarization, Phys. Rev. 82, 664 (1951),
  6. Jul 19, 2012 #5
    Not from macroscopic objects. However, something like this may have been seen from heavy ions in high energy collisions. The super-Z nucleus that emitted the photons didn’t last long. Here is a link.
    http://www.physicstoday.org/resource/1/phtoad/v38/i11/p17_s1?isAuthorized=no [Broken]
    Abstract of
    Puzzling Positron Peaks Appear in Heavy‐Ion Collisions at GSI by Bertram Schwarzschild Physics Today 38(11), 17 (November 1985).
    “This is, in fact, the vacuum sparking—or “spontaneous positron emission”— predicted by QED. ... detailed QED calculations predict that spontaneous positron emission will first occur when Z is …”

    This process would not preferentially favor matter over antimatter in a universe that was already dominated by electromagnetic radiation. The laws of QED are charge-parity (CP) invariant. Some force that is not CP invariant would be needed to favor matter over antimatter.
    The only force currently known to break CP invariance is the weak nuclear force. Hypothetically, the weak nuclear force is the one that caused the preponderance of matter in the universe. Vacuum sparking was not directly involved. Hypothetically.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Jul 24, 2012 #6
    It's surprising how little info I can find on this subject.
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