Volume 116, Number 4, November 2016
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Published online||28 December 2016|
Spatially dependent electron-positron pair creation rate
1 Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100190, China
2 Intense Laser Physics Theory Unit and Department of Physics, Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790-4560 USA
3 School of Physical Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100049, China
Received: 19 October 2016
Accepted: 9 December 2016
The vacuum breakdown process in an inhomogeneous supercritical electric field of finite extension is examined. By probing the electron-positron pair creation zone with incoming electrons that have controlled velocities, we can address the fundamental question of where the electrons are being created from the vacuum. In contrast to what one might expect, the spatial regions of most likely pair creation are not necessarily those where the electric-field strength is largest. In fact, the creation regions are determined solely by energetic considerations and particles can therefore be created in spatial regions where the local field strength is far below the Schwinger threshold. These predictions are also supported independently by spatial probability densities obtained by extrapolation as well as by classical and quantum-mechanical analysis.
PACS: 03.65.Pm – Relativistic wave equations / 03.65.Ta – Foundations of quantum mechanics; measurement theory
© EPLA, 2016
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