We show that the state of the Hawking radiation emitted from a large Schwarzschild black hole (BH) deviates significantly from a classical state, in spite of its apparent thermal nature. For this state, the occupation numbers of single modes of massless asymptotic fields, such as photons, gravitons and possibly neutrinos, are small and, as a result, their relative fluctuations are large. The occupation numbers of massive fields are much smaller and suppressed beyond even the expected Boltzmann suppression. It follows that this type of thermal state cannot be viewed as classical or even semiclassical. We substantiate this claim by showing that, in a state with low occupation numbers, physical observables have large quantum fluctuations and, as such, cannot be faithfully described by a mean-field or by a WKB-like semiclassical state. Since the evolution of the BH is unitary, our results imply that the state of the BH interior must also be non-classical when described in terms of the asymptotic fields. We show that such a non-classical interior cannot be described in terms of a semiclassical geometry, even though the average curvature is sub-Planckian.
- Black Holes
- Models of Quantum Gravity