Black hole's quantum N-portrait

G. Dvali, C. Gomez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We establish a quantum measure of classicality in the form of the occupation number, N, of gravitons in a gravitational field. This allows us to view classical background geometries as quantum Bose-condensates with large occupation numbers of soft gravitons. We show that among all possible sources of a given physical length, N is maximized by the black hole and coincides with its entropy. The emerging quantum mechanical picture of a black hole is surprisingly simple and fully parameterized by N. The black hole is a leaky bound-state in form of a cold Bose-condensate of N weakly-interacting soft gravitons of wave-length √N times the Planck length and of quantum interaction strength 1/N. Such a bound-state exists for an arbitrary N. This picture provides a simple quantum description of the phenomena of Hawking radiation, Bekenstein entropy as well as of non-Wilsonian UV-self-completion of Einstein gravity. We show that Hawking radiation is nothing but a quantum depletion of the graviton Bose-condensate, which despite the zero temperature of the condensate produces a thermal spectrum of temperature T = 1/(√N). The Bekenstein entropy originates from the exponentially growing with N number of quantum states. Finally, our quantum picture allows to understand classicalization of deep-UV gravitational scattering as 2 → N transition. We point out some fundamental similarities between the black holes and solitons, such as a t'Hooft-Polyakov monopole. Both objects represent Bose-condensates of N soft bosons of wavelength √N and interaction strength 1/N. In short, the semi-classical black hole physics is 1/N-coupled large-N quantum physics.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)742-767
    Number of pages26
    JournalFortschritte der Physik
    Issue number7-8
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Physics and Astronomy


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