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An important question in the derivation of the acceleration radiation, which also arises in Hawking's derivation of black hole radiance, is the need to invoke trans-Planckian physics in describing the creation of quanta. We point out that this issue can be further clarified by reconsidering the analysis in terms of particle detectors, transition probabilities and local two-point functions. By writing down separate expressions for the spontaneous-and induced-transition probabilities of a uniformly accelerated detector, we show that the bulk of the effect comes from the natural (non-trans-Planckian) scale of the problem, which largely diminishes the importance of the trans-Planckian sector. This is so, at least, when trans-Planckian physics is defined in a Lorentz-invariant way. This analysis also suggests how one can define and estimate the role of trans-Planckian physics in the Hawking effect itself. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.

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New Journal of Physics