Quantum strong energy inequalities

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Quantum energy inequalities (QEIs) express restrictions on the extent to which weighted averages of the renormalized energy density can take negative expectation values within a quantum field theory. Here we derive, for the first time, QEIs for the effective energy density (EED) for the quantized non-minimally coupled massive scalar field. The EED is the quantity required to be non-negative in the strong energy condition (SEC), which is used as a hypothesis of the Hawking singularity theorem. Thus establishing such quantum strong energy inequalities (QSEIs) is a first step towards a singularity theorem for matter described by quantum field theory.

More specifically, we derive difference QSEIs, in which the local average of the EED is normal-ordered relative to a reference state, and averaging occurs over both timelike geodesics and spacetime volumes. The resulting QSEIs turn out to depend on the state of interest. We analyse the state-dependence of these bounds in Minkowski spacetime for thermal (KMS) states, and show that the lower bounds grow more slowly in magnitude than the EED itself as the temperature increases. The lower bounds are therefore of lower energetic order than the EED, and qualify as nontrivial state-dependent QEIs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number045001
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Review D
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2019

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