Ralf Schützhold

Emergent horizons in the laboratory


The concept of a horizon known from general relativity describes the loss of causal connection and can be applied to non-gravitational scenarios such as out-of-equilibrium condensed-matter systems in the laboratory. This analogy facilitates the identification and theoretical study (e.g., regarding the trans-Planckian problem) and possibly the experimental verification of 'exotic' effects known from gravity and cosmology, such as Hawking radiation. Furthermore, it yields a unified description and better understanding of non-equilibrium phenomena in condensed-matter systems and their universal features. By means of several examples including general fluid flows, expanding Bose-Einstein condensates and dynamical quantum phase transitions, the concepts of event, particle and apparent horizons will be discussed together with the resulting quantum effects.