Observability of the bulk Casimir effect: Can the dynamical Casimir effect be relevant to sonoluminescence?
The experimental observation of intense light emission by acoustically driven, periodically collapsing bubbles of air in water (sonoluminescence) has yet to receive an adequate explanation. One of the most intriguing ideas is that the conversion of acoustic energy into photons occurs quantum mechanically, through a dynamical version of the Casimir effect. We have argued elsewhere that in the adiabatic approximation, which should be reliable here, Casimir or zero-point energies cannot possibly be large enough to be relevant. (About 10 MeV of energy is released per collapse.) However, there are sufficient subtleties involved that others have come to opposite conclusions. Inmore »