T-2, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology

Achieving nonperturbative QED pair production with high intensity lasers

Lance Labun
National Taiwan Univ

An outstanding goal of nonperturbative QED is to observe spontaneous pair production, which is the emission of electron-positron pairs by a low frequency electromagnetic field. Also known as the Schwinger mechanism, it is the classic example of a nonperturbative result in QFT, and recent advances in high intensity lasers have made it a realistic experimental goal. However, now-in-construction laser facilities are several orders of magnitude away from the electric field strength required to achieve pair production. To bridge this intensity gap, we show that single-photon pair-conversion, a related nonperturbative process, will be achievable. This process is independently interesting to study in the lab, because it plays an important role in high energy astrophysics. To aid the identification of nonperturbative pairs, as opposed to pairs created by perturbative photon collisions or secondary radiation, we propose a scheme that boosts the nonperturbative pairs to high momentum.


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