Viscosity in strongly interacting quantum field theories from black hole physics

Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Mar 25;94(11):111601. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.94.111601. Epub 2005 Mar 22.


The ratio of shear viscosity to volume density of entropy can be used to characterize how close a given fluid is to being perfect. Using string theory methods, we show that this ratio is equal to a universal value of variant Planck's over 2pi/4pik(B) for a large class of strongly interacting quantum field theories whose dual description involves black holes in anti-de Sitter space. We provide evidence that this value may serve as a lower bound for a wide class of systems, thus suggesting that black hole horizons are dual to the most ideal fluids.