Virtual particles and vacuum energy…a second look

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posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:00 PM
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This concept struck me last night, so take it with a grain of salt and note following is not an assertion or a theory but more or less a contemplation. It is not meant to over turn or discredit but given as something to consider and excuse any misuse of proper semantics...so bearing that in mind:

A vacuum is not considered to be a pure vacuum; because of energy that was found within the vacuum unexpectedly. Studies were done; and it was decided to call these unexpected particles of in a vacuum "virtual particles"



“The quantum theory asserts that a vacuum, even the most perfect vacuum devoid of any matter, is not really empty. Rather the quantum vacuum can be depicted as a sea of continuously appearing and disappearing [pairs of] particles that manifest themselves in the apparent jostling of particles that is quite distinct from their thermal motions. These particles are ‘virtual’, as opposed to real, particles. ...At any given instant, the vacuum is full of such virtual pairs, which leave their signature behind, by affecting the energy levels of atoms.”


First some refresher to have some concepts in mind:




Virtual particles do not necessarily carry the same mass as the corresponding real particle, although they always conserve energy and momentum. The longer the virtual particle exists, the closer its characteristics comes to those of ordinary particles. Virtual particles may be thought of as arising due to the time-energy uncertainty principle. They are important in the physics of many processes, including particle scattering and Casimir forces.

In quantum field theory, the Casimir effect and the Casimir–Polder force are physical forces arising from a quantized field. The typical example is of two uncharged metallic plates in a vacuum, placed a few micrometers apart as in a capacitor but without any external electromagnetic field. In a classical description, the lack of an external field also means that there is no field between the plates, and no force would be measured between them. When this field is instead studied using the QED vacuum of quantum electrodynamics, it is seen that the plates do affect the virtual photons which constitute the field, and generate a net force, either an attraction or a repulsion depending on the specific arrangement of the two plates. Although the Casimir effect can be expressed in terms of virtual particles interacting with the objects, it is best described and more easily calculated in terms of the zero-point energy of a quantized field in the intervening space between the objects.


Ok; now that that is clear in mind, here's the thought that struck me last night. If there is an energy inside of a vacuum that was not expected it got called a virtual particle because it basically has a smaller mass. Well lets now consider an effect of a vacuum, put in a foam ball in a vacuum and what occurs? It shrinks in mass...now lets consider the possibility that any electrons or other particle in a vacuum will also compress into a smaller mass...now would that be a virtual particle or a particle affected by one of the properties of a vacuum?

So, if I managed to keep attention at this point a little more refresher for clarity:




The fundamental equation of electrostatics is Coulomb's law, which describes the electric force between two point charges. The electric field associated with a classical point charge increases to infinity as the distance from the point charge decreases towards zero making energy (thus mass) of point charge infinite.

An exciton is a bound state of an electron and hole which are attracted to each other by the electrostatic Coulomb force. It is an electrically neutral quasiparticle that exists in insulators, semiconductors and in some liquids. The exciton is regarded as an elementary excitation of condensed matter that can transport energy without transporting net electric charge.


Well, what exactly does this have to do with a vacuum and shrinking particles? Nothing that the moment. So...lets go here first:


The Coulomb force (static electric force) between electric charges. It is caused by the exchange of virtual photons. In symmetric 3-dimensional space this exchange results in the inverse square law for electric force. Since the photon has no mass, the coulomb potential has an infinite range.


Here's where part of my thought last night led after thinking of shrinky dink particles in a vacuum...I thought well how did the particles get in there to ruin a perfect vacuum in the first place? I thought of static electricity and how it gets generated.

I thought of how water moving through a pipe; can create an electrical charge due to static electricity. Then I thought well there are a lot of water particles in the air, otherwise dehumidifiers are a scam.

In essence, when we are creating a vacuum we are pulling particles across the surface of the vacuum chamber and...you guessed it my next thought the process of creating a vacuum and generating static electricity in the process; it would not be unreasonable to make a logical assumption that perhaps this is the origin of where the unknown energy in a vacuum comes from.

Definition: exciton



An exciton is a bound state of an electron and hole which are attracted to each other by the electrostatic Coulomb force. It is an electrically neutral quasi particle that exists in insulators, semiconductors and in some liquids. The exciton is regarded as an elementary excitation of condensed matter that can transport energy without transporting net electric charge.


The key thing I wish to point out in that definition is "in insulators" vacuum chambers are typically made from an insulator to achieve a high level of purity inside the vacuum.

So there's the contemplation is in a nut shell. The process of creating a vacuum, possibly creates anomalous effects...leading to possible misconceptions about what is actually occurring with the phenomena. Are there virtual particles, or just compressed particles? Is the vacuum not a true vacuum because; in the process of creating a vacuum; it generates static electricity from the removal of particles, thus exciting the conductor or internal experiment, and this is where the mysterious particles of energy actually come from inside a vacuum? It sounds more logical to me, than theoretical particles appearing out of thin air, or creating new theoretical one's called virtual. Or creating uncertainty principals, to deal with the apparent free energy that arises from violating thermal laws of dynamics...

Please do not forget this is the result of reasoning; I am not trying to postulate or create a new theory, just provoke thought on the subject. I will be happy to clarify points; but I will not defend or engage in debate...unless to clarify a contextual misinterpretation, but feel free to debate among yourselves. I realize this contemplation throws quantum mechanics on it's ear...a little.

Sources:

Virtual Particles
Electric Field in a vacuum
Point particles
QED vacuum
Casimir effect
Exciton




posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:09 PM
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reply to post by BigBrotherDarkness
 


There is a reason why our scientists say that a vacuum is not empty, or that the purest vacuum is never empty.
It is because if you look around, we are surrounded by energy. We exist smack in the middle of a expanding soup of energy. How do you imagine they would find, produce or discover a absolute empty space where we exist?

I wonder when people are going to wake up and smell the bull sh###t.



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:28 PM
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As someone who has worked alot with High and ultra high vacuum systems, I can assure you that vacuum chambers are made from stainless steel 95% of the time. The other 5% can be something like quartz windows etc.

Another slightly wrong interpretation is that when 'pulling' vacuum, once you get down into the mbar level pressure you turn from bulk/turbulent flow into molecular flow. In most cases it is incorrect to say that you make a vacuum by sucking out the air. It is a process of opening a chamber, letting gas into it, and then pushing that gas out of an exhaust without letting anything backstream in. The effect to our experience is this 'sucking' effect. When you get down into molecular flow, you no longer suck air, molecules bounce around traveling in roughly straight lines, colliding with the walls of the chamber an occasionally into each other.

To pull vacuum you use a molecular turbo which sweeps out these molecules. Essentially when a molecule hits the blades of the turbo it is directed into the turbo rather than back into the chamber.

The main issues with producing vacuum come from the following

Water sticking to or being absorbed by a material (even steel)
Plastics containing gases and water that desorbs with time under vacuum
oils or high viscosity substances on the inside of the vacuum chamber.


Anyway that is just some background about generating vacuum. It should also be noted that the best vacuum we have produced on Earth is pretty crappy in comparison to space. (several orders of magnitudes difference). This makes empirical experimentation quite difficult.

Virtual particles are only one possible explanation for the Casimir effect, so the jury is still a little open to the cause.
Virtual particles do fit very nicely into QED and explaining effects though these particles at least in keeping with the uncertainty principle become suppressed or forbidden when as you point out, distances are large or time is large. This effect is sometimes used to explain or express 'valence' quarks in hadrons that can be 'excited' and produced out of vacuum as result of a high energy interaction.

Quite interesting stuff
edit on 22-1-2013 by ErosA433 because: correction



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 07:00 PM
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reply to post by ErosA433
 


Wow, the vacuum creation was a lot worse than I thought...is the inside of the chamber coated with a material to cut down on any particle exchange? Or are the given contaminants accounted for and the calculated out of the result?

Thanks for shedding some light on the vacuum process; it sounds so far from a controlled exact process...that it would be virtually impossible to repeat; which leaves me a nagging question, and who better to answer than yourself in the field?

Since there seem to be so many variables far from perfect conditions, are the tests ran repeatedly a set number of times, scatter plotted, then run on a linear regression to find the line of best fit?

I agree science is interesting stuff



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 07:02 PM
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reply to post by spy66
 


My apologies but the crux of my post was dealing with the dirty vacuum situation.



posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 08:47 PM
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Originally posted by BigBrotherDarkness
reply to post by ErosA433
 


Wow, the vacuum creation was a lot worse than I thought...is the inside of the chamber coated with a material to cut down on any particle exchange? Or are the given contaminants accounted for and the calculated out of the result?


The inside of the chamber tends not to be coated at all, stainless steel is used because it is easy to clean and can withstand harsh treatment such as acid etching in order to remove dirt and local impurities embedded in the surface layers... ideally the only coating would be the natural chromium oxide layer that stainless steel produces when exposed to oxygen



Thanks for shedding some light on the vacuum process; it sounds so far from a controlled exact process...that it would be virtually impossible to repeat; which leaves me a nagging question, and who better to answer than yourself in the field?


High Vacuum is fairly well understood, at least empirically. Though the effects that you see are somewhere between atomic scale and macroscopic scale involving grain boundaries in the material and surface roughness.

Chambers tend to behave in predicable manners, and you can perform calculations based on the layout and design of a system and things like... the ultimate pressure, the time it takes to generate vacuum etc.

Typically tests are repeated over and over to get some statistics.

Best vacuum I have produced in the lab was when I underranged one of our gauges... it means my vacuum was in the 10^-10mbar range. Best vacuum ever produced... was apparently around 10^-13 (i think) and still that is a fairly bad vacuum in comparison to space.



posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 01:17 AM
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Originally posted by BigBrotherDarkness
reply to post by spy66
 


My apologies but the crux of my post was dealing with the dirty vacuum situation.


Thanks. Was going to use that in my next argument
Because we can not make a absolute pure quality vacuum. There will always be rest particle present. The scientific community have agreed on the maximum purity possible to be achieve in a artificial vacuum.
edit on 27.06.08 by spy66 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 10:55 AM
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Not so much that science has agreed upon, its more that everything is fighting against us when trying to produce it.

Once you have all the water nitrogen and oxygen out of your system, then what happens? well you will find that steel then starts to produce hydrogen lol... The other trick you can use is high vacuum baking (promotes gases to emanate from the chamber so they can be removed) but you still get a problem due to recoil emission of nuclei

This is basically that lets assume you have pure vacuum... well you also need a chamber produced from ultra pure materials. Any radioactive elements in the chamber located near the surface have enough energy to recoil away and into the vacuum.

The whole situation is extremely technically challenging and this is why we are limited. Still, techniques and devices are forever improving


It would be an awesome experiment to perform though, but right now, the technical challenges will take alot of cold hard cash to even try to achieve.

Oh furthermore, measuring pressure down that low tends to be by using a heated cathode... once again semi ruining the vacuum with hot electrons... producing total vacuum and knowing you have, would be very hard, I dont think impossible, but difficult.



posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 02:55 PM
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reply to post by ErosA433
 


Thanks, for your input this just made me think a lot of results; in quantum physics using vacuums are more pseudo science...as a result of the vacuum situation. I know the results would work better in space; so until they set up vacuum labs in space, the results of vacuum experiments from quantum mechanics are going to be taken with a grain of salt.

Too much particle contamination in my book.



posted on Jan, 23 2013 @ 04:13 PM
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reply to post by BigBrotherDarkness
 


The thing about Quantum mechanics though or at least quantum mechanical effects is that they occur on small scales, (in most cases) generation of virtual particles would occur on a small scale and be governed by the uncertainty principle (its a reasonable starting point)

On these small scales, the definition of the vacuum holds fine because the space has to be 'empty' for the confines of the virtual particle...

I might have got that wrong, but i am just musing. Testing of quantum mechanics in an accelerator holds approximately fine because of statistics. The Idea is that the collisions of the beam are with each other and not say for example... some particles that happen to be in the way because of a few things.

1) there is good standing vacuum in the beam pipe, and
2) any collision with a stationary atom would produce a heavily boosted interaction that you would not detect because it would be contained within the beam pipe

Anyway sorry, im just musing and thinking of how actual vacuum could be approximately depending on what was attempted



posted on Jan, 25 2013 @ 08:29 PM
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Ok, you seem to have... some misconceptions about this subject. First off, the masses and characteristics do vary in virtual particles, but the short-lived ones are typically MORE massive, not LESS than their normal counterparts. Second, they aren't called "virtual" because of their mass, they're called "virtual" because they cannot, even in principle be directly observed. Third, you seem to think that virtual particles are primarily the zero-point field. This is wrong. They are found in TONS of interactions (for instance, the four forces are mediated by virtual particles). Fourth, the energy wasn't "unexpected" -- it is a perfectly natural outgrowth of the uncertainty principle. For example, two of the uncertainty-linked variables are the strength of a field and its rate of change. If you know that space is empty of all fields, you know its strength (zero) and its rate of change (+0% per second) to infinite precision. Therefore, such a situation simply cannot exist and "empty" is a fiction. The theory predicted it so they tested for it. (What's ever weirder is that the predictions are for such energy to be STAGGERINGLY larger than it's been measured to be.)

So.... I think you need to rethink some things.
edit on 25-1-2013 by Stunspot because: (no reason given)





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