T. De Lorenzo, A. Perez

Light cone thermodynamics

Theoretical and Experimental Physics

We show that null surfaces defined by the outgoing and infalling wave fronts emanating from and arriving at a sphere in Minkowski spacetime have thermodynamical properties that are in strict formal correspondence with those of black hole horizons in curved spacetimes. Such null surfaces, made of pieces of light cones, are bifurcate conformal Killing horizons for suitable conformally stationary observers. They can be extremal and nonextremal depending on the radius of the shining sphere. Such conformal Killing horizons have a constant light cone (conformal) temperature, given by the standard expression in terms of the generalization of surface gravity for conformal Killing horizons. Exchanges of conformally invariant energy across the horizon are described by a first law where entropy changes are given by 1/(4ℓp2) of the changes of a geometric quantity with the meaning of horizon area in a suitable conformal frame. These conformal horizons satisfy the zeroth to the third laws of thermodynamics in an appropriate way. In the extremal case they become light cones associated with a single event; these have vanishing temperature as well as vanishing entropy.

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