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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-11 05:20 PM
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Chalmers scientists create light from vacuum
http://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Chalmers-scientist...
Published Wed 16 Nov 2011

Chalmers scientists create light from vacuum

PRESS RELEASE: Scientists at Chalmers have succeeded in creating light from vacuum observing an effect first predicted over 40 years ago. The results have been published in the journal Nature. In an innovative experiment, the scientists have managed to capture some of the photons that are constantly appearing and disappearing in the vacuum.

The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness. In fact, the vacuum is full of various particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence. They appear, exist for a brief moment and then disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are usually referred to as virtual particles.

Chalmers scientist, Christopher Wilson and his co-workers have succeeded in getting photons to leave their virtual state and become real photons, i.e. measurable light. The physicist Moore predicted way back in 1970 that this should happen if the virtual photons are allowed to bounce off a mirror that is moving at a speed that is almost as high as the speed of light. The phenomenon, known as the dynamical Casimir effect, has now been observed for the first time in a brilliant experiment conducted by the Chalmers scientists.

Since its not possible to get a mirror to move fast enough, weve developed another method for achieving the same effect, explains Per Delsing, Professor of Experimental Physics at Chalmers. Instead of varying the physical distance to a mirror, we've varied the electrical distance to an electrical short circuit that acts as a mirror for microwaves.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature10561
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saras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-11 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
1. Three questions...
The real one - what interesting phenomena will show up around this that aren't foreseen yet?

The obvious one - how efficient is it at generating light?

The crackpot one - can we get out more energy in photons than we put into the electrical mirror?
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The Doctor. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-19-11 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Three answers;

- Don't know.

- Not at all.

- Ahhhhh...HAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAAAAAA! Really?
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