Supermassive black holes share a surprising link with subatomic gluon 'color glass walls'

Supermassive black holes, which are found at the centers of most galaxies, have been linked in an unexpected way by scientists to thick barriers of gluons, a type of subatomic particle.

They couldn't be more dissimilar in terms of size: While color glass condensates (CGCs), which are extremely thick walls of gluons, are less than a billionth of a mile in circumference, supermassive black holes can be billions of miles across.

Yet it has been found by a group of researchers from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the Max Planck Institute for Physics, and the Brookhaven National Laboratory that supermassive black holes and CGCs are similar in that they are composed of densely packed, fundamental force carrier particles known as bosons.

These bosons are gluons for CGCs, which are particles that bear the strong nuclear force in charge of "gluing together" quarks to create protons and neutrons, the atomic nuclei of all common matter. The hypothetical gravitons, which convey the force of gravity, are the tightly packed particles that make up supermassive black holes.

The bosons are set up in the most space- and energy-efficient way in both systems. With both systems storing the most quantum information about their individual bosons, including their spatial distribution, velocity, and group forces, this generates the high degree of order that is characteristic of both CGCs and black holes.

Researchers can gain more insight into one system of densely packed bosons by analyzing another due to the universality of the constraints put on quantum information.

As a consequence, by studying CGCs in laboratories on Earth, it may be possible to learn more about faraway and inaccessible supermassive black holes. To learn more about the gravitational shock waves generated when two black holes meet and combine to make an even more massive black hole, scientists could examine the "gluon shock waves" produced in CGCs during particle collisions.

When atomic atoms are propelled to speeds close to the speed of light and then collide, CGCs are produced. The CGCs "melt" following these impacts, carried out at establishments like the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Upton, New York, to create a nearly ideal liquid of quarks and gluons. The team discovered that gluons appear to arrange themselves in a manner that adheres to a global limit on the amount of entropy, or chaos, that can exist in a system while studying this process to learn more about the strong nuclear force. It is also thought that the vast collections of gravitons that make up black holes organize themselves within this bound.

This mathematical resemblance implies a connection between nuclear explosions at near-light velocities and the birth of black holes, their thermal balance with their surroundings, and even how they may ultimately decline.

This resemblance relates to a crucial aspect of quantum information science (QIS) known as maximal information packing, which places a ceiling on entropy. Therefore, scientists must look to QIS to learn more about the relationship between black holes and gluon barriers. To create quantum computers, which rely on closely packed cold atoms to conduct computations, the study of these systems may eventually prove helpful.

The team's research is published in the journal Physical Review D