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FQXi FORUM
April 18, 2019

CATEGORY: Technology [back]
TOPIC: Manipulating the Quantum Vacuum [refresh]

FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Jun. 19, 2017 @ 16:44 GMT
New research on manipulating the quantum vacuum has been published in Nature.

This work has been described by Fiona MacDonald, writing for Science Alert:

"According to quantum mechanics, a vacuum isn't empty at all. It's actually filled with quantum energy and particles that blink in and out of existence for a fleeting moment - strange signals that are known as quantum fluctuations.

"For decades, there had only ever been indirect evidence of these fluctuations, but back in 2015, researchers claimed to have detected the theoretical fluctuations directly. And now the same team says they've gone a step further, having manipulated the vacuum itself, and detecting the changes in these strange signals in the void."

Thank you to Colin Richardson for suggesting this would make a good topic for discussion, noting, "This result is important because it is now possible to directly detect the electromagnetic background noise of the vacuum and study the effects of controlled deviations from this ground state."

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Peter Warwick Morgan wrote on Jun. 19, 2017 @ 22:30 GMT
As always when I read quantum optics papers, I'm struck by the distance between experimental reports and textbook elementary theory. I suppose the quantized electromagnetic field is being used, with a Poincaré invariant vector |0〉, and squeezed states are something of a variation of coherent states that are theoretically described by the action of an exponentiated quadratic creation and...

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attachments: Capture.JPG

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James A Putnam replied on Jun. 20, 2017 @ 05:34 GMT
"Essentially no manipulation of the electromagnetic field is possible without the use of matter to introduce a significant degree of nonlinearity, so an alternative description would seem to be that the various light sources are used to measure the nonlinear properties of the various macroscopic crystals rather than that the light and various macroscopic crystals are used to measure the vacuum."

Good point!

James A Putnam

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Peter Warwick Morgan replied on Jun. 21, 2017 @ 14:48 GMT

Anyway, please let me know if this works successfully or not for you and if you in fact have to download ReadCube. If we can't get it to work, we can let others know not to download ReadCube, but if it does work it slightly lowers the barrier for research outside universities, subject to whatever strictures they enforce against systematic sharing (they can enforce whatever adaptive set of rules suits their business model because of ReadCube usage tracking. There's a marketing description at http://www.springernature.com/gp/researchers/sharedit.)

If it works, this seems something of a gamechanger for FQXi's ability to discuss published papers from Springer Nature.

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Colin Leslie Richardson wrote on Jun. 22, 2017 @ 10:39 GMT
"According to quantum mechanics, a vacuum isn't empty at all. It's actually filled with quantum energy and particles that blink in and out of existence for a fleeting moment - strange signals that are known as quantum fluctuations."

I've heard the term "quantum foam" and believe it describes the quantum vacuum. Foams seem to comprise lots of tiny bubbles, so can someone please tell me what are the "bubbles" (if any!) that comprise the quantum foam?

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jun. 25, 2017 @ 07:34 GMT
3D spherical volumes :)

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Peter Warwick Morgan replied on Jun. 25, 2017 @ 11:45 GMT
I suggest you don't get too committed to any one model proposed for very small scales. Even if someone can show that their model gives pretty good predictions for a few experimental contexts, they most likely can't show that there's no other model that's as good, or, to throw a spanner in the works, that's better for some experiments but worse for others. Experiments that can...

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jun. 25, 2017 @ 13:34 GMT
Thanks for this answer,It is well said. I consider in my model, the theory of spherisation with quantum and cosm 3D spheres inside an evolutive 3D universal sphere that the scales are in the same universal logic. You are right about the scales, we know so few still and even our standard model is not complete. We are so youngs still,our knowledges are so youngs about this quantum gravitation even.

Best Regards

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Colin Leslie Richardson wrote on Jun. 27, 2017 @ 09:50 GMT
Hi, Peter and Steve

Re "Experiments that can distinguish what's happening at scales as small as or much smaller than the Planck scale ...", Peter: Can any thing/quantum be smaller than its Planck size? I thought the Planck scale described irreducible minimum sizes for things/quanta?

Re "I consider in my model, the theory of spherisation with quantum and cosm 3D spheres inside an evolutive 3D universal sphere ...", Steve: To achieve a 100% packing ratio for your quantum foam model, would not these spheres have to be dodecahedra? That way there would be no unexplained interstices between the 'bubbles' comprising the 'foam'.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Jun. 27, 2017 @ 10:42 GMT
Hello Colin,

I have an other explaination, the space disappears when we consider a fractal with a decreasing in volumes and increasing in number from the central singularity, the biggest volume in logic.That is why this space soes not existy, only matter and energy exist.I see the main primordial quantum of energy like that, gravitational, and 3D sphericalvolumes coded encoding. The relevance is these volumes and their motions, the 3 orbital, spinal and linear. The angles, the velocities.....make the complexification and evolution. Our main codes seem gravitational.

Best

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Colin Leslie Richardson replied on Jun. 27, 2017 @ 12:01 GMT
Hi Steve - May I think of your 'central singularity' (CS) as the one from which the Big Bang (BB) started? If so, your BB seems more like a Big Budding, in which the CS keeps on budding off increasing numbers of tiny spheres, each containing:/being? 'one quantum' of 'gravitational energy'. These 3-D spheres start off at a certain size, but get smaller ... over 'time', thus creating a spherical 4-D universe containing?/being? your tiny spheres of energy.

Fed by energy from the CS 'mother', layers of 'daughter' spheres would be clustered around the CS, layers that are analysable into 'generations'. However, I don't see why the spheres of the outermost/later generations need necessarily be smaller in volume than those of the innermost/earlier generations.

I can envisage the initial production being quite rapid, compared with later production ... the famous initial Inflation epoch of Big Bang theory. I also can imagine the tiny energy spheres coalescing into sub-atomic particles then sinking back into your model quantum vacuum. Somewhere, sometime, these random processes will have kicked into existence, in one place, the right ingredients to glom together into a single hydrogen atom. At last: matter from energy.

Then it'd be on for young and old. The large 'Ur-Atom' would be surrounded by your tiny energy spheres and this might explain why you talk of a 'decreasing in volumes'. I guess shock waves would spread through the baby Universe, raising the chances of more random assemblies of H2 atoms occurring.

No doubt I've either missed your point, or cantilevered it out too far, or both. Looking forward to getting the real story, from you and anyone else who can shed light on this fascinating topic.

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Peter Warwick Morgan replied on Jun. 27, 2017 @ 12:23 GMT
The Planck scale might or might not be the "smallest" scale. Wikipedia gives the Planck scale as:[equation]but this is just what you get when you look for the simplest way to construct something that has units of length using some of the dimensioned constants in QM+gravity, it's not in itself part of any theory. An actual theory might reference the Planck length multiplied by any dimensionless...

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Hi Peter,

Nice to see you around again:). You have always been so kind to comment on my idea, so please could you do it one more time, it should take you 5-10 minutes. In the latest FQXI contest I presented a very brief paper that shows the results of my simulations that predict the electron mass and proton size actually already exists in standard physics! Moreover, my simulation( which already produce many QM results) produce Newtons gravity law( at large distance) with a very simple constraint.

essay

Thanks

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Peter Warwick Morgan replied on Jun. 28, 2017 @ 02:13 GMT
I'm sorry, Adel, that I do not have anything at all constructive to say about your essay. As little as I often think the mathematics I use makes too little contact with what physicists are accustomed to using, I fear you have the same problem even more severely. I do not see that you make any contact with quantum field theory at all, for example, which I think you have to if you care what physicists think, at least to persuade them why you don't have to make any contact with, say, the Standard Model of Particle Physics and the experiments that are understood to support it.

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Colin Leslie Richardson replied on Jun. 28, 2017 @ 02:41 GMT
Hi Peter,

Thanks for your most informative post and for the references, which I've looked up. They and you have opened my eyes in that I no longer regard the set of Planck units as always fixing the "smallest possible" measure of anything, e.g. "Most Planck units are fantastically small and thus are unrelated to "macroscopic" phenomena (or fantastically large, as in the case of Planck temperature). Energy of 1 EP, on the other hand, is definitely macroscopic, approximately equaling the energy stored in an automobile gas tank (57.2 L of gasoline at 34.2 MJ/L of chemical energy)." Learning about Entity Realism was fun ... I got a lovely mental picture of all those electrons and positrons speeding towards that superconducting metal sphere at Stanford!

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Peter Warwick Morgan replied on Jun. 28, 2017 @ 12:27 GMT
Thank you, Colin, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a worthwhile place to learn about how philosophers of physics think -- not always sensibly, because philosophers, but it's almost always at least not obvious why an idea is nonsense. The SEP often doesn't obscure ideas by using technical words quite as badly as does the philosophy literature proper.

Indeed, the whole concept of a...

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Colin Leslie Richardson wrote on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 12:16 GMT
Thank you for the link to Event Thinking, Peter. I watched that but have put dipping into the SEP on hold for a while! Event and Particle Thinking must come together from time to time, I guess, e.g. your experimental set-up may be recording the event of a particle emerging from the QV?

Using Particle Thinking for a moment, is there a separate class of Field Thinking, or are P's and F's too closely related to be split apart?

I believe quantum mechanics teaches that some?all? particles exist as fields until they are observed. Probability fields ... probably ... but are they also energy fields? In which case, the QV must be like a kind of great, all-purpose "field reservoir" of energy.

"Ya wanna see a photon, OK, I'll collapse this bit of the QV into one. Sorry, didja say ya wanna see a proton? OK, I'll carve you off a bigger piece of the QV and let you have one."

Is this how it all works?

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Peter Warwick Morgan replied on Jul. 5, 2017 @ 22:39 GMT
Personally, I now try to think mostly in terms of fields. Quantum fields are quite different from classical random fields, because of measurement incompatibility, "quantum" doesn't just go away when one thinks in terms of fields, but I find the difference to be subtly less than between QM and classical particle mechanics. What I think can be said about QM: Event Thinking is that it's rather different from most other empiricist interpretations of QM just because of really trying hard to avoid particle talk. Not many other people are as anti-particle as I am, however, so I have to try to speak both languages.

Also with my curmudgeonly hat on, I've come to think that "energy" is overrated as an organizing principal, at least in QM, because conserved energy is a global observable. Not many other people ...

Although I backslide all too often, I prefer to try to think about ways to describe what happens rather than to think too much that I understand "how it all works". It is what it is, it does what it does, we can engineer some parts of it, which is useful.

Thank you for your comment, albeit I have to apologize for talking too much at a tangent to its concerns.

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Colin Leslie Richardson wrote on Jul. 7, 2017 @ 02:05 GMT
It seems that particle thinking/discovery continues, with CERN's latest announcement of the Xicc++ (cc is superscript, ++ is subscript). It's at 7-sigma and is 4 times the 'weight' of the proton.

On field thinking/discovery, we seem to envisage each particle having its own 'personal' field, named for that particle. Then there's magnetism and its 'magnetic field'. And the kind of 'heat...

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