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Physics  2005 

Lamb Shift of Unruh Detector Levels

DOI: 10.1088/0264-9381/23/11/015

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We argue that the energy levels of an Unruh detector experience an effect similar to the Lamb shift in Quantum Electrodynamics. As a consequence, the spectrum of energy levels in a curved background is different from that in flat space. As examples, we consider a detector in an expanding Universe and in Rindler space, and for the latter case we suggest a new expression for the local virtual energy density seen by an accelerated observer. In the ultraviolet domain, that is when the space between the energy levels is larger than the Hubble rate or the acceleration of the detector, the Lamb shift quantitatively dominates over the thermal response rate.


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