Nuclear Seminar

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Date/Time:Wednesday, 13 Apr 2011 - Wednesday, 13 Apr 2011
Location:A401 Zaffarano Hall
Contact:
Phone:515-294-8894
Channel:Nuclear Physics
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"Search for the Heisenberg-Schwinger effect: Nonperturbative Vacuum Pair Production",
Gerald V. Dunne, University of Connecticut

The Heisenberg-Schwinger effect is the non-perturbative production of electron-positron pairs when an external electric field is applied to the quantum electrodynamical (QED) vacuum. The inherent instability of the vacuum in an electric field was one of the first non-trivial predictions of QED, but the effect is so weak that it has not yet been directly observed. However, there are exciting new developments in ultra-high intensity lasers, which may soon bring us to the verge of this extreme ultra-relativistic regime. This necessitates a fresh look at both experimental and theoretical aspects of the Schwinger effect. I describe some new theoretical ideas aimed at making this elusive effect observable, by careful shaping of the laser pulses.

This is a Joint Nuclear and High Energy Physics Seminar