Gould, Oliver; Ho, David L. -J.; Rajantie, Arttu
(2019)
Magnetic monopoles may be produced by the Schwinger effect in the strong magnetic fields of peripheral heavy-ion collisions. We review the form of the electromagnetic fields in such collisions and calculate from first principles the cross section for monopole pair production. Using the worldline instanton method, we work to all orders in the magnetic charge, and hence are not hampered by the breakdown of perturbation theory. Our result depends on the spacetime inhomogeneity through a single dimensionless parameter, the Keldysh parameter, which is independent of collision energy for a given monopole mass. For realistic heavy-ion collisions, the computational cost of the calculation becomes prohibitive and the finite size of the monopoles needs to be taken into account, and therefore our current results are not applicable to them-we indicate methods of overcoming these limitations, to be addressed in further work. Nonetheless, our results show that the spacetime dependence enhances the production cross section and would therefore lead to stronger monopole mass bounds than in the constant-field case.