Quantum effects in warp drives
INO-CNR BEC Center and Dipartimento di Fisica, Universita di Trento, via Sommarive 14, 38123 Povo-Trento, Italy
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Published online: 5 September 2013
Warp drives are interesting configurations that, at least theoretically, provide a way to travel at superluminal speed. Unfortunately, several issues seem to forbid their realization. First, a huge amount of exotic matter is required to build them. Second, the presence of quantum fields propagating in superluminal warp-drive geometries makes them semiclassically unstable. Indeed, a Hawking-like high-temperature flux of particles is generated inside the warp-drive bubble, which causes an exponential growth of the energy density measured at the front wall of the bubble by freely falling observers. Moreover, superluminal warp drives remain unstable even if the Lorentz symmetry is broken by the introduction of regulating higher order terms in the Lagrangian of the quantum field. If the dispersion relation of the quantum field is subluminal, a black-hole laser phenomenon yields an exponential amplification of the emitted flux. If it is superluminal, infrared effects cause a linear growth of this flux.
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