Emission of correlated photon pairs from superluminal perturbations in dispersive media

F. Dalla Piazza, F. Belgiorno, S. L. Cacciatori, D. Faccio

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6 Citations (Scopus)


We develop a perturbative theory that describes a superluminal refractive perturbation propagating in a dispersive medium and the subsequent excitation of the quantum vacuum zero-point fluctuations. We find a process similar to the anomalous Doppler effect: Photons are emitted in correlated pairs and mainly within a Cerenkov-like cone, one on the forward and the other in backward directions. The number of photon pairs emitted from the perturbation increases strongly with the degree of superluminality and under realizable experimental conditions; it can reach up to similar to 10(-2) photons per pulse. Moreover, it is, in principle, possible to engineer the host medium so as to modify the effective group refractive index. In the presence of "fast-light" media, e. g., a with group index smaller than unity, a further similar to 10x enhancement may be achieved and the photon emission spectrum is characterized by two sharp peaks that, in future experiments, would clearly identify the correlated emission of photon pairs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number033833
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review A
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


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