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In a Lorentz-violating quantum field theory, the energy-momentum relations for the field quanta are typically modified. This affects the kinematics, and processes that are normally forbidden may become allowed. One reaction that clearly becomes kinematically possible when photons’ phase speeds are less than 1 is vacuum Cerenkov radiation. However, in spite of expectations, and in defiance of phase space estimates, a electromagnetic Chern–Simons theory with a timelike Lorentz violation coefficient does not feature any energy losses through Cerenkov emission. There is an unexpected cancelation, made possible by the existence of unstable long-wavelength modes of the field. The fact that the theory possesses a more limited form of gauge symmetry than conventional electrodynamics also plays a role.


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Altschul, B. (2017). Why Cerenkov Radiation May Not Occur, Even When It Is Allowed by Lorentz-Violating Kinematics. Symmetry, 9(11), 250. doi:10.3390/sym9110250

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