Researchers propose new way to reproduce a black hole

Aug 21, 2009

( -- Despite their popularity in the science fiction genre, there is much to be learned about black holes, the mysterious regions in space once thought to be absent of light. In a paper published in the August 20 issue of Physical Review Letters Dartmouth researchers propose a new way of creating a reproduction black hole in the laboratory on a much-tinier scale than their celestial counterparts.

The new method to create a tiny quantum sized black hole would allow researchers to better understand what physicist proposed more than 35 years ago: black holes are not totally void of activity; they emit photons, which is now known as Hawking radiation.

"Hawking famously showed that black holes radiate energy according to a thermal spectrum," said Paul Nation, an author on the paper and a graduate student at Dartmouth. "His calculations relied on assumptions about the physics of ultra-high energies and . Because we can't yet take measurements from real , we need a way to recreate this phenomenon in the lab in order to study it, to validate it."

In this paper, the researchers show that a magnetic field-pulsed microwave transmission line containing an array of superconducting quantum interference devices, or SQUIDs, not only reproduces physics analogous to that of a radiating black hole, but does so in a system where the high energy and quantum mechanical properties are well understood and can be directly controlled in the laboratory. The paper states, "Thus, in principle, this setup enables the exploration of analogue quantum gravitational effects."

"We can also manipulate the strength of the applied so that the SQUID array can be used to probe black hole radiation beyond what was considered by Hawking," said Miles Blencowe, another author on the paper and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth.

This is not the first proposed imitation black hole, says Nation. Other proposed analogue schemes have considered using supersonic fluid flows, ultracold bose-einstein condensates and nonlinear fiber optic cables. However, the predicted Hawking radiation in these schemes is incredibly weak or otherwise masked by commonplace radiation due to unavoidable heating of the device, making the Hawking radiation very difficult to detect. "In addition to being able to study analogue quantum gravity effects, the new, SQUID-based proposal may be a more straightforward method to detect the Hawking radiation," says Blencowe.

More information: Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 087004 (2009); DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.103.087004

Source: Dartmouth College

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1.7 / 5 (7) Aug 21, 2009
Creating black holes on Earth doesn't sound very safe to me. Can't we just wait until we have the technology to send a probe towards an existing black hole??
5 / 5 (4) Aug 21, 2009
don't worry the earth is not going to be sucked into it. hell they aren't trying to make a real black hole ie. somthing made from condensed matter with a gravitational field... they are studing something that should act very like that same object and have measuarble effects.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2009
This technique sounds both safe and exciting. This is an analogue of a black hole, not the real thing. What is exciting is possibly seeing Hawking Radiation. I suspect this will be very significant work.
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 21, 2009
Creating black holes on Earth doesn't sound very safe to me. Can't we just wait until we have the technology to send a probe towards an existing black hole??

4.5 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2009
I don't think it will be possible to detect hawking radiation directly. If the postulate of vacuum energy that Hawking Radiation relies upon is accurate then it'd be impossible to detect against background noise without a large enough sample size. I don't think we can get a sample size large enough until we can "see" the black hole's jet. At that point in time the black hole is far too large to evaporate fast enough to not accrete matter at a greater rate, thereby making it impossible to study safely on our planet.

Perhaps there's a technological solution on a quantum scale by which we can "tag" the matter-antimatter pair as it comes into existence, but I don't see it being a reality in the near future.
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 21, 2009
I would suggest that photons make up the hidden structure of all space except in a black hole which I beleive is an area in space where the spatial stucture made up of photons cannot exist. the photons being emited are the rements of the spatial structure that has been drawn into the black hole. I too would consider this to be a very dangerous project in that the hole would have been infinitesimally small but destroying the surrounding space the hole gets larger and larger.

Funny we havnt heard much of the LHC lately perhaps they too now realise the danger.
5 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2009
People it's a "physics analogue" of a black hole, not a real one. In otherwords the last thing it is going to do pull things in via a gravity field. Instead it creates an Event Horizon which should produce Hawking radiation. That's really quite a neat physics experiment, but utterly ZERO danger.
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 21, 2009
Seems kind of questionable that merely because you can set up a number of devices (SQUIDs) to supposedly mimic some of the emissions of a black hole, that this in any way means the data you get actually can be used to show how an actual black hole works.

It's like taking a million tons of TNT and setting it off and expecting to get the equivalent effect of a 1MT nuclear weapon going off in order to see what kind of radiation the TNT is emitting. You would probably turn around and say, "Wow, we always thought that nuclear weapons gave off lots of high energy radiation and particles, but this TNT explosion shows that they don't."
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 21, 2009
Funny we havnt heard much of the LHC lately perhaps they too now realise the danger.

The collision energies produced by the LHC will be less than the energies of cosmic rays which have been colliding inside the Earth for billions of years. So if black holes are produced by such energies, they are too short-lived to matter.

HOWEVER... one has to wonder about LHC version 2.0 -- or 10.0. It is inevitable that humans will one day be capable of creating black holes large enough to eat matter faster than they evaporate. It should be interesting to see what will happen then. Humans have yet to resist creating anything which it is within our power to create ("some other country would just create it first!"). But perhaps technologies will also be developed to detect and eject black holes which accidentally fall into the Earth before they can do too much damage.

Assuming it's accidental.
4 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2009
What would be awesome, if we could create bona fide microsingularities, would be to find a way to encase enough of them into structures and use them for artificial gravity in space craft. A number of them could be used for waste management to keep up their mass before evaporation.
3 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2009
That could add a wee bit of flight weight... ;-)
2 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2009
That would depend upon mass, placement, and number, of course.
5 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2009
To me this sounds like no microsingularity is actually created (fortunately). It bears close resemblence to the principle of a quantum cascade laser where the quantum Hall effect and collective spin state in quantum dots or 2D surface spin state of very tiny layers of materials are exploited to selectively radiate the pumped energy in a small spectrum. Like in This case the powersource is external and gets radiated back, so if you stop supplying energy the process stops. Its not like there is a munching singularity that burps hawkings radiation while swallowing the earth.
2.5 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2009
That would depend upon mass, placement, and number, of course.

To generate a tenth of a gee using flat deck plating would require the plating to have a density of about 240 metric tonnes per square centimeter.

If you collided with any normal spaceships, I doubt you'd even feel a bump. :-)
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2009
" the mysterious regions in space once thought to be absent of light"

black holes were never thought to be "absent of light", there was a speculation that light could not escape their gravitational field.

but who needs editors, right?
1 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2009
thankfully black holes are pure fiction.
5 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2009
seanpu - do you have better explanation for an object with mass of 4 million suns and not emiting any light at the galactic center?
Aug 22, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009
I'm wondering if there is a maximum mass transfer rate into or out of a black hole. Does the immense time dilation propose there is not?
not rated yet Aug 22, 2009
For those so inclined, a preprint of the paper published in Physical Review Letters can be found here: . While some technical hurdles will have to be overcome, the experiment could provide crucial insights into physics in general and black hole astrophysics specifically.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2009
if they create an anologue that doesnt' use gravity to have an influence on photons interacting with a singularity than the 'black hole' is not a black hole and this article is poorly lableled. physicist will be creating a singularity , not a black hole.
2.5 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2009
So they're going to create a mechanism which mimics theorized black hole emissions in order to measure black hole emissions? HUH?
Sounds like using a fluorescent lamp or even LED as an analogue for measuring the radiation of an incadescent lamp.
2.7 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2009
I suspect that our Big Bang happened because some yahoo on the other side created a black hole in his world, got sucked in along with his entire universe and then got blasted out on our side, creating little ole me and you....I really hope I'm wrong...
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 24, 2009
Oh my. Fears about the LHC creating micro black holes on this website? I thought we were all a little smarter than that.

Those micro "black holes" will be created by smashing a few particles together, not by squashing a small star's worth of matter down infinitely. The "black holes" evaporate within microseconds, there is absolutely no chance of them destroying the world. I think the worst fear with the LHC is that they may never get the darn thing working..

Also - do you think these physicists would actually put the planet in danger by creating an actual black hole that could eat the planet? These guys base their entire lives on math and logic. They wouldn't create something that was extremely dangerous "just to see what happens".

...And don't bring up the Atomic Bomb. That was different.
Aug 25, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
3 / 5 (2) Aug 25, 2009
The recent observation of tetraneutron, pentaquark or glueballs are all manifestation of so called supersymmetry, i.e. surface tension force, which behaves like gravity force at short distance. The surface tension pressure inside of water droplet of micrometer diameter is comparable to hydrostatic pressure at kilometer depth. When such droplet will be formed from small particles, it can stabilize them agains decay in simmilar way, like gravitational field inside of black holes. The problem is, scientists doesn't realize this connection of supersymmetry and black hole behavior.
Aug 25, 2009
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3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2009
..I also do not believe that scientists don't realize the connection between supersymmetry and black hole behavior ..
They didn't realize a lotta things (Aether, extradimensions, Lorentz symmetry violation) which are all around us. Why they should realize supersymmetry, if it could threat a LHC launch? Simulation of black hole by squid array is completely harmless.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 26, 2009
If you collided with any normal spaceships, I doubt you'd even feel a bump. :-)

'Twould be a safe ship, though, wouldn't it? All you little guys better never get in the way of my ship! :-)

"Captain! Did you hear something?"
"It was probably nothing... As you were... Continue on course, all ahead full."
1 / 5 (1) Aug 28, 2009
This thing would be so close to ZERO KELVIN it would require mountains of compressors! You didn't think the REAL ones disposed of matter "magnetically" did you! It's a THERMIONIC suction thing! (Like the real one, maybe!)