Stephen Hawking proposed that particles would appear around the black hole, which is now known as Hawing Radiation. He was one of the greatest modern physicists. Nearly 50 years later, Hawking Radiation has yet to be observed in space or reproduced in the laboratory. A project was started to create an analogy with a “relativistic floating mirror”, and new calculations suggest that this goal might not be unrealistic.
Hawking’s prediction is correct. Each particle visible outside the event area should slowly evaporate from a black hole, taking away mass. The black holes will shrink to nothing after they run out of materials. Perhaps the end-of-the universe is nothing but slowly shrinking black holes. Hawking Radiation is a violation of the principle information must be preserved. The solution to this paradox could unlock the key that will allow us to resolve the apparent contradictions between Quantum Field Theory, General Relativity, and Quantum Field Theory. This may allow us to finally solve the mystery of all Hawking spent so much time chasing.
Although it would be nearly impossible to actually study Hawking radiation, physicists are able to create more tangible analogs. AnaBHEL is an acronym for Analog Black Hole Evaporation by Lasers. It was formed to create one. AnaBHEL members share their thoughts on the possibility of the plan working in a preprint (not yet peer-reviewed) posted to ArXiv.org.
One of the mysteries about black holes, for physicists at least, is their loss of information. For most people, this is not a major issue. We lose information whenever we forget to save our documents before a computer crashes. However, for physicists, such loss violates the principle of unitarily. Information can never be lost.
Unfortunately, we are unable to prosecute crashing computers for violating this Law of Physics. However, physicists propose many ways Hawking evaporation could be avoided. It is possible to answer the most fundamental questions of physics by identifying which, if either, of these solutions, is correct. The paper notes that although it is impossible to determine the truth of this paradox from direct observations of the sky, due to the fact that typical black holes the size of a star are young and very cold, the answer to the paradox will depend on how the black hole evaporates.
The possibility of creating black holes in a laboratory is way beyond current capability. It also raises some safety and security concerns. Usually, proposals to answer the question involve creating an equivalent for Hawking radiation. Although it’s unlikely that the analog will behave identically to the original, it’s a good start.
One possibility for creating an analogy of this is firing a high-intensity laser on a plasma target that has decreasing density. According to a 2017 study, this would result in a “relativistic mirror” that has a quantum field similar to the surrounding a black hole. AnaBHEL was born because these parallels are much more direct and therefore better than alternative methods.
Even if the theory seems sound, the experiment might not succeed if the equipment is not sufficient. For instance, the detectors may not be sensitive enough to catch all the radiation. Higgs Boson is a complex particle that required years of research to find. This was because the particle accelerators at the beginning of the hunt were lacking the needed power.
The paper supports the idea that an accelerating relativistic laser mirror is a good alternative to a dark hole and that the system being built should be sufficient. This summer, an initial trial is planned. If that fails a second, a more powerful laser can be applied next year.
Even if the experiment does work, the authors acknowledge that it won’t answer the underlying question. The map does not represent the terrain. We know that under laboratory conditions unitarity is preserved. However, we know that information preservation will be preserved in the laboratory environment. The relativistic Mirror could help us understand how this happens.