Detection of Zero Point Energy

Quantum mechanics tells us that even a total vacuum would not be truly empty because it has a minimum energy level called zero point energy. Particles continuously pop in and out of existence from this zero point energy. They are called virtual particles and it is one of the strange aspects of quantum mechanics.

 Tapping this vacuum zero point energy has been a dream for decades because it would be a limitless supply of clean free energy. However so far not confirmed way of taping it as energy source as been demonstrated. Though this has been demonstrated by the Casimir effect no way had been shown to actually turn this into usable energy.

Chris Wilson at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden recently conducted an experiment that succeeds in pulling photons out of this vacuum energy. It uses a superconductor and a quantum oscillator which moved electrons at a quarter the speed of light. The result was that virtual photons absorbed a portion of the electron’s kinetic energy radiating pairs of real photons. This process is called the dynamical Casimir effect and it had never been observed before.

Unfortunately the effect does not produce more energy than is requiered to cause it. However this along with the regular Casimir effect shows that this vacuum zero point energy is real and that matter can interact with it.



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