Cherenkov radiation from the quantum vacuum

Alexander J. MacLeod, Adam Noble, Dino A. Jaroszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


A charged particle moving through a medium emits Cherenkov radiation when its velocity exceeds the phase velocity of light in that medium. Under the influence of a strong electromagnetic field, quantum fluctuations can become polarized, imbuing the vacuum with an effective anisotropic refractive index and allowing the possibility of Cherenkov radiation from the quantum vacuum. We analyze the properties of this vacuum Cherenkov radiation in strong laser pulses and the magnetic field around a pulsar, finding regimes in which it is the dominant radiation mechanism. This radiation process may be relevant to the excess signals of high energy photons in astrophysical observations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number161601
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019


  • nonlinear vacuum electrodynamics
  • Cherenkov radiation


Dive into the research topics of 'Cherenkov radiation from the quantum vacuum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this