Asymptotically thermal responses for smoothly switched detectors

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution



Publication details

Title of host publicationProceedings of the Fourteenth Marcel Grossman Meeting on General Relativity
DatePublished - 2015
Number of pages6
PublisherArxiv (Cornell University)
EditorsM Bianchi, R T Jantzen, R Ruffini
Original languageEnglish


Thermal phenomena in quantum field theory can be detected with the aid of particle detectors coupled to quantum fields along stationary worldlines, by testing whether the response of such a detector satisfies the detailed balance version of the KMS condition at a constant temperature. This relation holds when the interaction between the field and the detector has infinite time duration. Operationally, however, detectors interact with fields for a finite amount of time, controlled by a switching function of compact support, and the KMS detailed balance condition cannot hold exactly for finite time interactions at arbitrarily large detector energy gap. In this large energy gap regime, we show that, for an adiabatically switched Rindler detector, the Unruh temperature emerges asymptotically after the detector and the field have interacted for a time that is polynomially long in the large energy. We comment on the significance of the adiabaticity assumption in this result.


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