University of York, United Kingdom

To help provide intuition about his result Hawking presented a heuristic picture of black hole evaporation in terms of pair creation outside a black hole's event horizon. The usual description of this process involves one of the pair carrying negative energy as it falls into the black hole past its event horizon. The second of the pair carries sufficient energy to allow it to escape to infinity appearing as Hawking radiation. Overall there is energy conservation and the black hole losses mass by absorbing negative energy. This heuristic mechanism actually strengthens the "classical causal" structure of the black hole's event horizon as being a perfect semi-permeable (one-way) membrane. The paradox seems unassailable.

Nonetheless, there are good reasons to believe this heuristic description may be wrong [3]. Put simply, every created pair will be quantum mechanically entangled. If the members of each pair are then distributed to either side of the event horizon the so-called rank of entanglement across the horizon will increase for each and every quanta of Hawking radiation produced. Thus, one would conclude that just as the black hole mass were decreasing by Hawking radiation, its internal (Hilbert space) dimensionality would actually be increasing.

For black holes to be able to eventually vanish, the original Hawking picture of a perfectly semi-permeable membrane must fail at the quantum level. In other words, this "entanglement overload" implies a breakdown of the classical causal structure of a black hole. Whereas previously entanglement overload had been viewed as an absolute barrier to resolving the paradox [3], we argue [2,4] that the above statements already point to the likely solution.

At this point a perceptive reader might ask how and to what extent our paper sheds light on the physics of black hole evaporation. First, the consensus appears to be that the physics of event horizons (cosmological, black hole, or those due to acceleration) is universal. In fact, it is precisely because of this generality that one should not expect this Hilbert space description of evaporation at event horizons to bear the signatures of the detailed physics of black holes. In fact, as explained in the next section we go on to impose the details of that physics onto this evaporative process. Second, sampling the Hilbert space at or near the event horizon may or may not represent fair sampling from the entire black hole interior. This issue is also discussed below (and in more detail in the paper [2]).

When Hawking's semi-classical analysis was extended by field theorists to include backreaction from the outgoing radiation on the geometry of the black hole a modified non-thermal spectrum was found [5]. The incorporation of backreaction comes naturally in our quantum description of black hole evaporation (in the form of conservation laws). Indeed, our results show that black holes that satisfy these conservation laws are not ideal but "real black bodies" that exhibit a non-thermal spectrum and preserve thermodynamic entropy.

These results support our conjecture for a spacetime free description of evaporation across black hole horizons.

Our analysis not only reproduces these famous results [5] but extends them to all possible black hole and evaporated particle types in any (even extended) gravity theories. Unlike field theoretic approaches we do not need to rely on one-dimensional WKB methods which are limited to the analysis of evaporation along radial trajectories and produce results only to lowest orders in h-bar.

Finally, our work quite generally predicts a direct functional relation exists between the irreducible mass associated with a Penrose process and a black hole's thermodynamic entropy. This in turn implies a breakdown in Hawking's area theorem in extended gravity theories.

- shows that the classical picture of black hole event horizons as perfectly semi-permeable almost certainly fails quantum mechanically
- provides a microscopic spacetime-free mechanism for Hawking radiation
- reproduces known results about black hole evaporation rates
- authenticates random matrix theory for the study of black hole evaporation
- predicts the detailed black hole spectrum beyond WKB
- predicts that black hole area must be replaced by some other property in any generalized area theorem for extended gravities
- provides a quantum gravity calculation based on the presumption of unitarity, and
- provides support for suggestions that gravity, inertia and even spacetime itself could come from spacetime-free physics across event horizons

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