Critical Schwinger Pair Production
Journal article, 2016

We investigate Schwinger pair production in spatially inhomogeneous electric backgrounds. A critical point for the onset of pair production can be approached by fields that marginally provide sufficient electrostatic energy for an off-shell long-range electron-positron fluctuation to become a real pair. Close to this critical point, we observe features of universality which are analogous to continuous phase transitions in critical phenomena with the pair-production rate serving as an order parameter: electric backgrounds can be subdivided into universality classes and the onset of pair production exhibits characteristic scaling laws. An appropriate design of the electric background field can interpolate between power-law scaling, essential Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless-type scaling, and a power-law scaling with log corrections. The corresponding critical exponents only depend on the large-scale features of the electric background, whereas the microscopic details of the background play the role of irrelevant perturbations not affecting criticality.

Author

H. Gies

Greger Torgrimsson

Chalmers, Physics, Theoretical Physics

Physical Review Letters

0031-9007 (ISSN) 1079-7114 (eISSN)

Vol. 116 9

Subject Categories

Physical Sciences

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.090406

More information

Created

10/7/2017