Jul 18, 2022

Ionization of Gravitational Atoms

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

By: William Brown, Biophysicist at the Resonance Science Foundation

Stellar mass black holes, like elementary particles, are remarkably simple objects. They have three primary observable properties: mass, spin, and electric charge. The similarities with elementary particles, like the proton, doesn’t stop there, as stellar mass black holes in binary systems can also form bound and unbound states due to interaction of orbital clouds (from boson condensates), uncannily analogous to the behavior and properties of atoms.

The spin of stellar mass black holes is a particularly significant property, as black holes have rapid rotations that generate a region of space called the ergosphere around the event horizon, where the torque on spacetime is so great that an object would have to travel at a velocity exceeding the speed of light just to stay in a stationary orbit. Analysis of this region has resulted in some interesting physics predictions, one being the phenomenon of superradiance. When a wave (whether of electromagnetic radiation or matter) enters the ergosphere with a specific trajectory, it can exit the black hole environment with a larger amplitude than the one with which it came in— this amplification process is called black hole superradiance. It was an effect first described by Roger Penrose nearly 50 years ago and describes how work can be extracted from the ergosphere of a black hole [1].

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