Black hole horizons and complementarity

Youngjai Kiem, Herman Verlinde, Erik Verlinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


We investigate the effect of gravitational back reaction on the black hole evaporation process. The standard derivation of Hawking radiation is reexamined and extended by including gravitational interactions between the infalling matter and the outgoing radiation. We find that these interactions lead to substantial effects. In particular, as seen by an outside observer, they lead to a fast growing uncertainty in the position of the infalling matter as it approaches the horizon. We argue that this result supports the idea of black hole complementarity, which states that, in the description of the black hole system appropriate to outside observers, the region behind the horizon does not establish itself as a classical region of space-time. We also give a new formulation of this complementarity principle, which does not make any specific reference to the location of the black hole horizon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7053-7065
Number of pages13
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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