Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) managed to create light from vacuum. The existence of this effect was predicted over 40 years ago. The results will be published in the journal Nature. During the experiment, the scientists were able to capture the photons that continually appear and disappear in a vacuum.
This experiment is based on one of the paradoxical and at the same time, one of the most important principles of quantum mechanics, which states that the vacuum is not absolute vacuum. The vacuum is filled with particles that are constantly appearing and disappearing in it. After his appearance, they exist for a very short period of time, after which disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are called virtual particles.
Scientists from the University of Chalmers, Christopher Wilson and his colleagues were able to convert virtual photons into real light. The physicist Moore in 1970 predicted that this should happen if the virtual photons reflected from a mirror moving at nearly the speed of light. The phenomenon, known as the dynamic Casimir effect was first demonstrated in a brilliant experiment Chalmers scientists.
"Since it is impossible to get a mirror to move with such speed, we developed another method that would achieve the same effect," - said Per Delsing, Professor of Experimental Physics at Chalmers.
The role of mirror performed SQUID (superconducting quantum interferometer), which is extremely sensitive to magnetic fields. By changing the direction of the magnetic field several billions of times a second, the researchers made a "mirror" vibrate at a speed of 25 percent of the speed of light.
"As a result of the vacuum having a pair of photons that we measured in the form of microwave radiation", - said Per Delsing. "We have determined that the radiation had precisely the properties that are predicted by quantum theory in the case of couples in this way."