Ultracold fermionic atoms in an optical lattice, with a sudden position-dependent change (a quench) in the effective dispersion relation, have been proposed by Rodríguez-Laguna et al as an analogue spacetime test of the Unruh effect. We provide new support for this analogue by analysing a massless scalar field on a (1+1)-dimensional continuum spacetime with a similar quench: an early time Minkowski region is joined at a constant time surface, representing the quench, to a late time static region in which left and right asymptotically Rindler domains are connected by a smooth negative curvature bridge. We show that the quench is energetically mild, and late time static observers, modelled as a derivative-coupling Unruh–DeWitt detector, see thermality, in a temperature that equals the Unruh temperature for observers in the asymptotic Rindler domains. The Unruh effect hence prevails, despite the energy injected into the field by the quench and despite the absence of a late time Killing horizon. These results strengthen the motivation to realise the experimental proposal.
Louko, J. (2018). Thermality from a Rindler quench. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 35(20), 1-13. doi:10.1088/1361-6382/aadb34