Re: Casimir effect energy extraction

From: John Clark (
Date: Mon Jan 31 2000 - 01:06:45 MST

<> Wrote:

> I believe extraction is impossible because to usefully extract energy, i.e.,
> to do work, requires that there is some lower energy level for the potential
> to go down to. For zero point energies, there is no lower state.

I'd love to be proven wrong but I too am skeptical that useful energy will
ever be extracted in this way, however there is a lower state than zero energy.
If you place two large flat mirrors very close together then, unlike the vacuum
on the outside of the mirrors, there can not be virtual photons of every
wavelength in the vacuum between the mirrors because some will interfere
destructively. There are more virtual particles in the vacuum outside the
mirrors pushing them together than between pushing them apart.
If you define a vacuum far from any object as containing zero energy and
if it is able to push the mirrors together because the space between the mirrors
has less stuff in it, then that space between mirrors must have a negative energy.

    John K Clark

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