The two-center Dirac equation for an electron in the external electromagnetic field of two colliding heavy ions in the limit in which the ions are moving at the speed of light is exactly solved off the light fronts, and nonperturbative amplitudes are obtained for free electron-positron pair production. We find the condition for the applicability of this solution for large but finite collision energy, and use it to explain recent experimental results. The observed scaling of positron yields as the square of the projectile and target charges is a result of a cancellation of a nonperturbative charge dependence and holds as well for large coupling. Other observables would be sensitive to nonperturbative phases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics