Superradiant instabilities of rotating black branes and strings

Vitor Cardoso, Shijun Yoshida

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100 Citations (Scopus)


Black branes and strings are generally unstable against a certain sector of gravitational perturbations. This is known as the Gregory-Laflamme instability. It has been recently argued that there exists another general instability affecting many rotating extended black objects. This instability is in a sense universal, in that it is triggered by any massless field, and not just gravitational perturbations. Here we investigate this novel mechanism in detail. For this instability to work, two ingredients are necessary: (i) an ergo-region, which gives rise to superradiant amplification of waves, and (ii) ''bound'' states in the effective potential governing the evolution of the particular mode under study. We show that the black brane Kerr 4×Rp is unstable against this mechanism, and we present numerical results for instability timescales for this case. On the other hand, and quite surprisingly, black branes of the form Kerrd× Rp are all stable against this mechanism for d > 4. This is quite an unexpected result, and it stems from the fact that there are no stable circular orbits in higher dimensional black hole spacetimes, or in a wave picture, that there are no bound states in the effective potential. We also show that it is quite easy to simulate this instability in the laboratory with acoustic black branes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-211
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of High Energy Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul 1


  • Black Holes
  • Black Holes in String Theory
  • p-branes


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