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We study the creation of electron-positron pairs from the vacuum induced by two spatially displaced static electric fields. The strength and spatial width of each localized field is less than required for pair creation. If, however, the separation between the fields is less than the quantum-mechanical tunneling length associated with the corresponding quantum scattering system, the system produces a steady flux of electron-positron pairs. We compute the time dependence of the pair-creation probability by solving the Dirac equation numerically for various external field sequences. For the special case of two very narrow fields we provide an analytical expression for the pair-creation rate in the long-time limit.


Originally published in Physical Review A by the American Physical Society.