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Title: Is zero-point energy physical? A toy model for Casimir-like effect

Abstract

Zero-point energy is generally known to be unphysical. Casimir effect, however, is often presented as a counterexample, giving rise to a conceptual confusion. To resolve the confusion we study foundational aspects of Casimir effect at a qualitative level, but also at a quantitative level within a simple toy model with only 3 degrees of freedom. In particular, we point out that Casimir vacuum is not a state without photons, and not a ground state for a Hamiltonian that can describe Casimir force. Instead, Casimir vacuum can be related to the photon vacuum by a non-trivial Bogoliubov transformation, and it is a ground state only for an effective Hamiltonian describing Casimir plates at a fixed distance. At the fundamental microscopic level, Casimir force is best viewed as a manifestation of van der Waals forces. - Highlights: • A toy model for Casimir-like effect with only 3 degrees of freedom is constructed. • Casimir vacuum can be related to the photon vacuum by a non-trivial Bogoliubov transformation. • Casimir vacuum is a ground state only for an effective Hamiltonian describing Casimir plates at a fixed distance. • At the fundamental microscopic level, Casimir force is best viewed as a manifestation of vanmore » der Waals forces.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22701513
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Annals of Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 383; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2017 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 0003-4916
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; BOGOLYUBOV TRANSFORMATION; CASIMIR EFFECT; DEGREES OF FREEDOM; GROUND STATES; HAMILTONIANS; PHOTONS; VAN DER WAALS FORCES

Citation Formats

Nikolić, Hrvoje. Is zero-point energy physical? A toy model for Casimir-like effect. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/J.AOP.2017.05.013.
Nikolić, Hrvoje. Is zero-point energy physical? A toy model for Casimir-like effect. United States. doi:10.1016/J.AOP.2017.05.013.
Nikolić, Hrvoje. Tue . "Is zero-point energy physical? A toy model for Casimir-like effect". United States. doi:10.1016/J.AOP.2017.05.013.
@article{osti_22701513,
title = {Is zero-point energy physical? A toy model for Casimir-like effect},
author = {Nikolić, Hrvoje},
abstractNote = {Zero-point energy is generally known to be unphysical. Casimir effect, however, is often presented as a counterexample, giving rise to a conceptual confusion. To resolve the confusion we study foundational aspects of Casimir effect at a qualitative level, but also at a quantitative level within a simple toy model with only 3 degrees of freedom. In particular, we point out that Casimir vacuum is not a state without photons, and not a ground state for a Hamiltonian that can describe Casimir force. Instead, Casimir vacuum can be related to the photon vacuum by a non-trivial Bogoliubov transformation, and it is a ground state only for an effective Hamiltonian describing Casimir plates at a fixed distance. At the fundamental microscopic level, Casimir force is best viewed as a manifestation of van der Waals forces. - Highlights: • A toy model for Casimir-like effect with only 3 degrees of freedom is constructed. • Casimir vacuum can be related to the photon vacuum by a non-trivial Bogoliubov transformation. • Casimir vacuum is a ground state only for an effective Hamiltonian describing Casimir plates at a fixed distance. • At the fundamental microscopic level, Casimir force is best viewed as a manifestation of van der Waals forces.},
doi = {10.1016/J.AOP.2017.05.013},
journal = {Annals of Physics},
issn = {0003-4916},
number = ,
volume = 383,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {8}
}