Quantum vacuum noise in physics and cosmology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The concept of the vacuum in quantum field theory is a subtle one. Vacuum states have a rich and complex set of properties that produce distinctive, though usually exceedingly small, physical effects. Quantum vacuum noise is familiar in optical and electronic devices, but in this paper I wish to consider extending the discussion to systems in which gravitation, or large accelerations, are important. This leads to the prediction of vacuum friction: The quantum vacuum can act in a manner reminiscent of a viscous fluid. One result is that rapidly changing gravitational fields can create panicles from the vacuum, and in turn the backreaction on the gravitational dynamics operates like a damping force. I consider such effects in early universe cosmology and the theory of quantum black holes, including the possibility that the large-scale structure of the universe might be produced by quantum vacuum noise in an early inflationary phase. I also discuss the curious phenomenon that an observer who accelerates through a quantum vacuum perceives a bath of thermal radiation closely analogous to Hawking radiation from black holes, even though an inertial observer registers no particles. The effects predicted raise very deep and unresolved issues about the nature of quantum particles, the role of the observer, and the relationship between the quantum vacuum and the concepts of information and entropy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-547
Number of pages9
JournalChaos
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Cosmology
cosmology
Vacuum
Physics
vacuum
physics
Observer
Black Holes
large-scale structure of the universe
Hawking Radiation
Thermal Radiation
Property of set
Early Universe
Large-scale Structure
registers
Gravitation
Heat radiation
thermal radiation
viscous fluids
Gravitational Field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics

Cite this

Quantum vacuum noise in physics and cosmology. / Davies, Paul.

In: Chaos, Vol. 11, No. 3, 09.2001, p. 539-547.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Davies, Paul. / Quantum vacuum noise in physics and cosmology. In: Chaos. 2001 ; Vol. 11, No. 3. pp. 539-547.
@article{bf97876c72a742478b7d3f6188761741,
title = "Quantum vacuum noise in physics and cosmology",
abstract = "The concept of the vacuum in quantum field theory is a subtle one. Vacuum states have a rich and complex set of properties that produce distinctive, though usually exceedingly small, physical effects. Quantum vacuum noise is familiar in optical and electronic devices, but in this paper I wish to consider extending the discussion to systems in which gravitation, or large accelerations, are important. This leads to the prediction of vacuum friction: The quantum vacuum can act in a manner reminiscent of a viscous fluid. One result is that rapidly changing gravitational fields can create panicles from the vacuum, and in turn the backreaction on the gravitational dynamics operates like a damping force. I consider such effects in early universe cosmology and the theory of quantum black holes, including the possibility that the large-scale structure of the universe might be produced by quantum vacuum noise in an early inflationary phase. I also discuss the curious phenomenon that an observer who accelerates through a quantum vacuum perceives a bath of thermal radiation closely analogous to Hawking radiation from black holes, even though an inertial observer registers no particles. The effects predicted raise very deep and unresolved issues about the nature of quantum particles, the role of the observer, and the relationship between the quantum vacuum and the concepts of information and entropy.",
author = "Paul Davies",
year = "2001",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1063/1.1378796",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "11",
pages = "539--547",
journal = "Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.)",
issn = "1054-1500",
publisher = "American Institute of Physics Publising LLC",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Quantum vacuum noise in physics and cosmology

AU - Davies, Paul

PY - 2001/9

Y1 - 2001/9

N2 - The concept of the vacuum in quantum field theory is a subtle one. Vacuum states have a rich and complex set of properties that produce distinctive, though usually exceedingly small, physical effects. Quantum vacuum noise is familiar in optical and electronic devices, but in this paper I wish to consider extending the discussion to systems in which gravitation, or large accelerations, are important. This leads to the prediction of vacuum friction: The quantum vacuum can act in a manner reminiscent of a viscous fluid. One result is that rapidly changing gravitational fields can create panicles from the vacuum, and in turn the backreaction on the gravitational dynamics operates like a damping force. I consider such effects in early universe cosmology and the theory of quantum black holes, including the possibility that the large-scale structure of the universe might be produced by quantum vacuum noise in an early inflationary phase. I also discuss the curious phenomenon that an observer who accelerates through a quantum vacuum perceives a bath of thermal radiation closely analogous to Hawking radiation from black holes, even though an inertial observer registers no particles. The effects predicted raise very deep and unresolved issues about the nature of quantum particles, the role of the observer, and the relationship between the quantum vacuum and the concepts of information and entropy.

AB - The concept of the vacuum in quantum field theory is a subtle one. Vacuum states have a rich and complex set of properties that produce distinctive, though usually exceedingly small, physical effects. Quantum vacuum noise is familiar in optical and electronic devices, but in this paper I wish to consider extending the discussion to systems in which gravitation, or large accelerations, are important. This leads to the prediction of vacuum friction: The quantum vacuum can act in a manner reminiscent of a viscous fluid. One result is that rapidly changing gravitational fields can create panicles from the vacuum, and in turn the backreaction on the gravitational dynamics operates like a damping force. I consider such effects in early universe cosmology and the theory of quantum black holes, including the possibility that the large-scale structure of the universe might be produced by quantum vacuum noise in an early inflationary phase. I also discuss the curious phenomenon that an observer who accelerates through a quantum vacuum perceives a bath of thermal radiation closely analogous to Hawking radiation from black holes, even though an inertial observer registers no particles. The effects predicted raise very deep and unresolved issues about the nature of quantum particles, the role of the observer, and the relationship between the quantum vacuum and the concepts of information and entropy.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0035458203&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0035458203&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1063/1.1378796

DO - 10.1063/1.1378796

M3 - Article

VL - 11

SP - 539

EP - 547

JO - Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.)

JF - Chaos (Woodbury, N.Y.)

SN - 1054-1500

IS - 3

ER -