# Scalar radiation from a radially infalling source into a Schwarzschild black hole in the framework of quantum field theory

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## Abstract

We investigate the radiation to infinity of a massless scalar field from a source falling radially towards a Schwarzschild black hole using the framework of the quantum field theory at tree level. When the source falls from infinity, the monopole radiation is dominant for low initial velocities. Higher multipoles become dominant at high initial velocities. It is found that, as in the electromagnetic and gravitational cases, at high initial velocities the energy spectrum for each multipole with \(l \ge 1\) approximately is constant up to the fundamental quasinormal frequency and then drops to zero. We also investigate the case where the source falls from rest at a finite distance from the black hole. It is found that the monopole and dipole contributions in this case are dominant. This case needs to be carefully distinguished from the unphysical process where the source abruptly appears at rest and starts falling, which would result in radiation of an infinite amount of energy. We also investigate the radiation of a massless scalar field to the horizon of the black hole, finding some features similar to the gravitational case.

## 1 Introduction

Black holes (BHs) stand out as the most relevant and simple objects described by General Relativity. BHs are trapped regions, even to light, due to their extremely intense gravitational field. The boundary of no return from which light cannot escape, the BH event horizon, is determined as a function of only three parameters associated with the BH, i.e. mass, angular momentum and electric charge [1]. Particles falling into BHs emit radiation which carries information about the event horizon to infinity, as a “fingerprint” of the BHs [2, 3, 4, 5]. Thus, in principle, evidence for the existence of an event horizon and therefore for the existence of BHs can be obtained by analyzing the radiation emitted from a source falling into BHs. The scientific literature about the dynamics of a test particle falling into BHs has developed significantly in the early 1970s. The existing results for the problem of radiation emission from a particle falling radially into BHs were obtained using the formalism of the Classical Field Theory (CFT) [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17]. The investigation of this kind of problems from the viewpoint of the Quantum Field Theory (QFT) has not been carried out. The formalism of QFT applied to the problem of radiation emission has been used for the determination of the radiation emission by sources and charges rotating around a BH, known as synchrotron radiation [18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25]. Furthermore, QFT has been used to investigate radiation emission from an uniformly accelerated source in flat spacetimes [26, 27] and also to investigate the interaction of sources with Hawking radiation [28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34]. In this paper, using QFT at tree level, we investigate in detail the properties of the radiation emission due to the radial infall of a particle source of a massless scalar field into a Schwarzschild BH. One of the main advantages in computing the emitted energy using the framework of QFT at level tree is that this approach makes the extension to the radiative quantum corrections more straightforward. We note in passing that the change in the geometry due to the Hawking radiation for an astrophysical black hole is extremely small [35] and, as a result, that it is legitimate to use the eternal black hole in our calculations.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. In Sect. 2 we briefly review the general formalism used in this paper. In Sect. 3 we describe the radial infall of a source into a Schwarzschild BH according to General Relativity. In Sect. 4 we obtain expressions for the emitted energy spectrum and the total emitted energy for a quantum scalar field minimally coupled to the scalar source. In Sect. 5 we obtain the zero-frequency limit of the emitted energy spectra, using approximate analytic solutions. In Sect. 6 we analyze and discuss our numerical results for the radiation emission obtained from the viewpoint of QFT. We summarize some features of our results in Sect. 7. We use natural units with \(G =c = \hbar = 1\), unless otherwise stated.

## 2 General formalism of QFT in Schwarzschild spacetime

*S*is a constant-time hypersurface, which is a Cauchy surface [38]. The commutation relations (4) imply that the modes \(u_{\omega \,l\,m}\) are normalized as follows:

## 3 Radial infall of a source into a Schwarzschild black hole

*z*-axis. The stress–energy tensor for a point source can be written by

*t*in spherical polar coordinates,

*q*is a coupling constant between the source and a massless and chargeless scalar field \({\hat{\varPhi }}\) [18, 32], and \(v^{t}\) is the contravariant

*t*-component of the four-velocity of the source. The factor \(1/v^t\) makes the source boost invariant along its trajectory.

*E*is the source’s conserved energy divided by its rest mass [1]. If the source has initial position \(r=r_0\) and velocity \(v_0\) in the ingoing radial direction (at \(t=0\)), then [38]

*r*in the static frame [39], namely

## 4 Total emitted energy

*l*and azimuthal number

*m*) by a source \(j(x^{\mu })\) minimally coupled to a scalar field \({\hat{\varPhi }} \left( x^{\mu } \right) \) in a background of a spherically symmetric spacetime using QFT at tree level can be done. The starting point is the following expression [18, 19]:

*z*-axis without loss of generality because of the spherical symmetry of Schwarzschild spacetime. Thus we consider \(\theta _\mathrm{s}=0\) and \(\phi _\mathrm{s}=0\). (The value of \(\phi _\mathrm{s}\) is arbitrary once we have \(\theta _\mathrm{s} = 0\). However, we choose this value for definiteness.) As a consequence only the mode \(m=0\) contributes to the emission amplitude [9, 17]. Because of this fact the only spherical harmonics which will be associated to non-vanishing amplitudes are \(Y_{l\,0}(\theta ,\phi )\) with

*m*from \({\mathscr {A}}^{\text {up}/\text {in}}_{\omega \,l\,m}\) and \(E^{\text {hor}/\text {inf}}_{l\, m}\) for the reason stated above.

^{1}:

## 5 The zero-frequency limit

In this section we obtain the zero-frequency limit (ZFL) of the spectra of the energy emitted to infinity (Eq. (28)), using approximate analytic solutions of Eq. (10) in order to check the results obtained for the energy spectra considering the full numerical solution.

*M*with dimensions in Schwarzschild spacetime the low-frequency limit is the limit where \(\omega \ll M^{-1}\). Since the energy spectra \(E^{\text {hor/inf}}_{\omega \,l}\) are dimensionless, they are functions of \(M\omega \) for \(r_0=\infty \). Hence, their \(\omega \rightarrow 0\) limit for \(r_0=\infty \) is achieved by letting \(M\rightarrow 0\) [45]. (Note that \(r_0\) introduces another parameter with dimensions if it is finite.) In this limit we may replace the potential \(V_l(r)\) in Eq. (11) by its leading term for a large

*r*,

*r*is held fixed, then (see, e.g. Sec. VI of Ref. [32])

## 6 Numerical results

*l*. [We obtain the same results by using Eq. (35), instead of Eq. (34), and setting \(B=0\), because the boundary term (36) vanishes.] We note that the spectra of energy emitted to the horizon, \(E^{\text {hor}}_{\omega \,l}\), (plots on the left in Fig. 2) starts from zero (at \(\omega =0\)), reaches a maximum and then slowly decreases to zero (for high values of \(\omega \)). Note that the energy emitted to the horizon does not decrease as the multipole number

*l*increases unlike the energy emitted to infinity. This behavior of the spectra \(E^{\text {hor}}_{\omega \,l}\) is similar to that of the corresponding spectrum for the gravitational radiation [5]. It reflects the fact that the source has infinite self energy due to the Coulomb-like potential and that the region of large energy density passes through the horizon as the source approaches it. The spectrum of energy emitted to infinity, \(E^{\text {inf}}_{\omega \,l}\), (plots on the right in Fig. 2) starts from a non-vanishing finite value (at \(\omega =0\)) and goes to zero for high frequencies. The contribution of higher multipoles decreases rapidly with increasing

*l*as in the gravitational case [4]. These spectra were studied by Brito [45] and our results are in agreement with his. It is interesting that for high initial velocities the spectrum for each \(l\,\ge 1\) is approximately constant and drops to zero around the fundamental quasinormal frequency. [These frequencies \(\omega _\mathrm{qn}\) are given as \(\omega _\mathrm{qn}r_{\text {h}} = 0.215\, (l=0), 0.586\, (l=1), 0.967\, (l=2), 1.351\, (l=3)\) and \(1.733\, (l=4)\) (see, e.g. Ref. [46]).] The spectra for the gravitational and electromagnetic radiation behave in a similar manner [7, 13].

The results for the emitted energy spectra \(E^{\text {hor}}_{\omega \,l}\) and \(E^{\text {inf}}_{\omega \,l}\) for the radial infall of a source starting from rest for selected values of position \(r_0\) obtained numerically from Eqs. (35) (with \(B=0\)) and (38) are shown in Fig. 3 as functions of \(\omega \) and for selected values of the multipole number *l*. We note that the emission to infinity is dominated by lower multipoles (\(l=0,1\)) while there is a substantial contribution from the modes with \(l\ge 2\) to the emission to the horizon, reflecting the region of high energy density surrounding the source passing through the horizon.

\(v_0\) | Method | \(l =0\) | \(l =1\) | \(l =2\) |
---|---|---|---|---|

0.5 | Numerical | 0.022854 | 0.002252 | 0.000176 |

Analytic | 0.022929 | 0.002216 | 0.000170 | |

0.75 | Numerical | 0.018646 | 0.00524 | 0.001162 |

Analytic | 0.018650 | 0.00522 | 0.001150 | |

0.95 | Numerical | 0.009132 | 0.007002 | 0.00406 |

Analytic | 0.009182 | 0.007072 | 0.00413 |

In the plots of Fig. 5 we show the energy emitted to infinity \(E^{\text {inf}}_{l}\), obtained from Eq. (28), as a function of the initial velocity \(v_0\). The monopole (\(l=0\)) emission is dominant for low initial velocities while higher multipoles (\(l\ge 1\)) become significant for high initial velocities. We note that for \(l=0\) as the initial velocity \(v_0\) increases, the value of \(E^{\text {inf}}_{0}\) decreases. It is interesting that this behavior for the multipole number \(l=0\) is the opposite to that for the multipole numbers \(l\ge 1\). In the plots of Fig. 6 we show the emitted energy \(E^{\text {inf}}_{l}\), obtained from Eq. (28), as a function of the position \(r_0\). We note that, as the position \(r_0\) gets closer to the BH event horizon, the emitted energy \(E^{\text {inf}}_{l}\) goes to zero as expected. The plot on the right uses Eq. (35) with \(B=0\). It can be seen that the emission is mainly with \(l=0\) and \(l=1\) and that it increases as a function of \(r_0\). The plots on the left use Eq. (34). The spectrum does not decrease as a function of *l*. This is an ultraviolet effect arising from a sudden emergence of a source at \(r=r_0\).

In Tables 1, 2 and 3, we compare the zero-frequency limit (ZFL) of the energy spectra obtained numerically with the corresponding analytic results. In Table 1 we compare the ZFL of the spectrum of the energy radiated to infinity from a source infalling from \(r=\infty \) obtained analytically in Eq. (43) with the ones obtained using the numerical solution of Eq. (10) in order to check the numerical results. Similarly, in Table 2 we compare the ZFL for the spectrum of the energy radiated to infinity for the source infalling radially from rest from a certain position \(r_0\), given by Eq. (45), with the ones obtained using the numerical solution of Eq. (10).

Spectra of the energy radiated to infinity in the ZFL for \(l=0\). The numerical results are compared with the exact values given by Eq. (45) (the results for \(l>0\) are identically zero), considering the source released from rest at a certain finite position \(r_0\)

\(r_0/r_\mathrm{h}\) | Method | \(l =0\) |
---|---|---|

1.1 | Numerical | 0.002312 |

Analytic | 0.002302 | |

2.5 | Numerical | 0.015288 |

Analytic | 0.015198 | |

5.0 | Numerical | 0.020384 |

Analytic | 0.020264 |

Spectra of energy radiated to the event horizon in the ZFL. The numerical results are compared with the exact values given by Eq. (46) for \(l=0,1,2\), considering the source released from rest at a certain finite position \(r_0\)

\(r_0/r_\mathrm{h}\) | Method | \(l =0\) | \(l =1\) | \(l =2\) |
---|---|---|---|---|

1.1 | Numerical | 0.013133 | 0.005228 | 0.001612 |

Analytic | 0.013240 | 0.005319 | 0.001667 | |

2.5 | Numerical | 0.003944 | 0.000081 | \( < 10^{-6} \) |

Analytic | 0.003965 | 0.000085 | \( < 10^{-6} \) | |

5.0 | Numerical | 0.001000 | \( < 10^{-6} \) | \( < 10^{-8} \) |

Analytic | 0.001009 | \( < 10^{-6} \) | \( < 10^{-8} \) |

## 7 Summary

In this paper we studied the radiation emission of massless scalar field from the radial infall of a source into a Schwarzschild BH, using the formalism of QFT at tree level. We numerically computed the spectra of the emitted energy, \(E^{\text {hor}}_{\omega \,l}\) (energy radiated to the event horizon) and \(E^{\text {inf}}_{\omega \,l}\) (energy radiated to infinity), in two distinct situations related to the initial condition of the radial infall of a source, namely: (i) the source starting with non-vanishing velocity \(v_0\) from spatial infinity and (ii) the source infalling from rest at a certain finite position \(r_0\).

Some aspects of the case in which the source comes from infinity with a certain non-vanishing velocity \(v_{0}\) are summarized here. For all multipole numbers *l* the spectra of the energy emitted to infinity are nonzero in the low-frequency limit. For high initial velocities the spectrum is approximately constant until the frequency is around the fundamental quasinormal frequency and then rapidly goes to zero. For low initial velocities the monopole (\(l=0\)) radiation and the dipole (\(l=1\)) (to a lesser extent) are dominant while higher multipoles are significant at higher initial velocities. Interestingly, as the initial velocity \(v_0\) is increased, the emitted energy for the monopole radiation (\(l=0\)) decreases whereas that for the higher multipoles increases. The spectrum of the energy emitted to the event horizon starts from zero increases to a maximum and then decreases very slowly, reflecting the fact that, as the source falls toward the horizon, the Coulomb-like energy of the source passes through the black hole.

Next, some properties of the energy spectra when the source starts falling from rest at a certain distance from the black hole are being discussed. The monopole spectrum of the energy emitted to infinity starts from a nonzero value, while for \(l \ge 1\) the spectra start at zero. These spectra all rise to a maximum and then decrease to zero. As for the spectrum of energy emitted to the event horizon, the emission is mainly with \(l=0\) (monopole) and with \(l=1\) (dipole). The emission to the horizon has more contribution from higher multipoles. It is also remarked that a naïve calculation would lead to a source appearing abruptly and then starting to fall. A boundary term needs to be subtracted in order to calculate the emission from a source at rest and then starting to fall.

Finally, it is noted that the behavior of the spectra of the emitted energy, \(E^{\text {inf}}_{\omega \,l}\), and the total emitted energy \(E^{\text {inf}}_{l}\) to infinity for multipole numbers \(l\ge 1\) are similar to the electromagnetic and gravitational cases (see e.g. Refs. [7, 8, 10, 13]).

## Footnotes

- 1.
Some authors define \(E^{\text {hor}/\text {inf}}_{\omega \,l}\) to be 1/2 times ours because the total energy emitted is obtained by integrating \(E^{\text {hor}/\text {inf}}\) over \(\omega \) from \(-\infty \) to \(\infty \) in their case.

## Notes

### Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) for partial financial support. AH also acknowledges partial support from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics through Visiting Scholar/Consultant Programme. AH thanks the Universidade Federal do Pará in Belém for kind hospitality. LO is grateful to University of York for kind hospitality.

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