The Schwinger Mechanism: The Quest for Non-perturbative Pair Production from Vacuum
Abstract: The QED vacuum acts as a polarizable dielectric medium in intense electromagnetic fields. This leads to a striking observation that it is possible to create real electron-positron pairs from vacuum by virtue of the quantum fluctuations. There is now a renewed interest in this long-sought effect with the advent of next generation laser technologies. The direct observation of vacuum decay into electron-positron pairs would pave the way for controllable access to non-perturbative aspects QED and, may yield valuable insight to similar phenomena in astrophysics and particle physics. In this talk, I review interesting and challenging theoretical aspects of the vacuum pair production.