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Dynamically assisted Schwinger mechanism. (English) Zbl 1228.81274
Summary: We study electron-positron pair creation from the Dirac vacuum induced by a strong and slowly varying electric field (Schwinger effect) which is superimposed by a weak and rapidly changing electromagnetic field (dynamical pair creation). In the subcritical regime where both mechanisms separately are strongly suppressed, their combined impact yields a pair creation rate which is dramatically enhanced. Intuitively speaking, the strong electric field lowers the threshold for dynamical particle creation – or, alternatively, the fast electromagnetic field generates additional seeds for the Schwinger mechanism. These findings could be relevant for planned ultrahigh intensity lasers.

MSC:
81V10 Electromagnetic interaction; quantum electrodynamics
81V80 Quantum optics
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