Note on an Astounding Recent Experiment

©Fernando Caracena 2015


Visualizing Dark Energy

Based on the Standard Model of Cosmology... the universe is  68.3% dark energy. [Further,] dark energy is an unknown form of energy which permeates all of space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the universe.[--See Dark Energy on Wikipedia.

Recent experiments have been able to make vacuum energy visible, thereby answering the question "Is the vacuum really empty?" The answer is "NO", "empty" space is filled with energy, called zero point energy, which is suggested by quantum electrodynamics. Its presence is confirmed by several measurable, physical effects, the most dramatic of which is the Casimir Effect. The latest set of experiments visualizes the zero point energy, further proving that what we think of as nothing, because there is no matter there, really exists as an energetic presence. We are like fish, who swim about in a vast transparent ocean, but see only what is embedded in it. These experimental results tend to confirm what I have been writing in these blogs, see for example Particle Manifestation of Quantum States Part 2 .

Dirac' s Idea of the Physical Vacuum

Early in the 20thCentury, Paul A. Dirac suggested that the vacuum is not empty, but instead is filled with the lowest energies of the various modes of motion of the electromagnetic field, a quantum mechanical analysis of which reveals it to be a collection of quantized one dimensional harmonic oscillators, each of which can never be reduced to zero energy, because their lowest energy levels come out to be a half quantum unit of energy. We have derived this property in a previous post called, "The 1-D Harmonic Oscillator in Quantum Mechanics". Dirac had offered this idea to explain the fact that an isolated atom in an excited state undergoes what Albert Einstein called spontaneous emission. Experimental evidence showed that the presence of photons at the same wavelength as those that would be emitted from the excited state of an atom will prompt the atom to emit its photon quicker than if it does so spontaneously, for which reason it is called stimulated emission. This knowledge made possible of the LASER, which was an acronym standing for  "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation".

Spontaneous Emission is Really Stimulated Emission

Dirac's idea is that all radiation emitted by atoms is stimulated by photons of the same frequency. What Albert Einstein called spontaneous emission is really a form of stimulated emission, by electromagnetic energy that we are not normally aware of. Dirac could see clearly, when others were struggling with wave functions, that the physical vacuum is filled with virtual "particles" which blink in and out of our existence for a time consistent with Heisenberg' s Uncertainty principle. In that short blink a virtual photon can cause an atom in an excited state to emit a photon that we can detect. This is a different type of interaction, in which no real energy exchange happens between two physical systems. In this case, the physical vacuum state prompts the action of atomic matter to change its state, without altering the vacuum in any way. Here we see the operation of one level of reality on another in a form of causality, in which the cause does not transfer energy from one level to the other. This is a real example of simultaneous causality, another would be the Pauli Exclusion Principle.

Dark Energy

"Physicists and astronomers now believe that the universe expands due to the vacuum energy present in the entire space. The vacuum energy is also a strong candidate for the dark energy."--Is the vacuum really empty?

Note that there is an ongoing discussion on what constitutes dark energy. The zero point energy  of the electromagnetic (EM) field is a strong candidate, however there is a glitch here. The zero point fluctuations become more intense over progressively smaller wave length, and over smaller time scales. When physicists first faced the problem they baulked, because the EM zero point energies added up to infinity. They dealt with zero point infinities by a process called renormalization, which effectively truncated the lower limit of the virtual photon wavelengths entering into the zero point energy.

Although renormalization was first used as a gimmick for calculating realistic energies that agreed with experiment, it has evolved as a mathematical acceptable technique applicable to self-similar systems. My opinion is that reality is basically non-linear, which differentiates into what appear as independent levels of existence, but nevertheless maintain a subtle coupling that satisfies the properties of simultaneous causality.

At this point let me repeat what is stated in a previous post, "Particle Manifestation of Quantum States Part 2":

Looking for a Correspondence

So there is some kind of coupling between possible quantum states and the distribution of visible matter in the universe. Yet, matter emerges from the interaction of quanta according to a strict set of laws that result in spatial wave patterns, which may be confined to extremely small spacial dimensions. This process is somewhat like a solid 's (say ice) crystallizing out of freezing cold water. The process is dynamic, having both states exchanging water molecules. The limitation in this analogy is that the difference between the seething energy that constitutes space and forms of matter is vastly different, but is more like what Swedenborg describes as a discrete degree[ of difference] .

Visualizing Virtual Photon Standing Wave Patterns


On 7 March 2014, Moonjoo Lee et al. reported three-dimensional imaging of the vacuum field in a microcavity. The experiment is described in the above reference, "Is the vacuum really empty?" and is paraphrased as follows:

They employed a single barium atom as a spontaneous-emission probe for the vacuum energy density inside a high Q microcavity. The positions of the atom is precisely controlled by a nanohole array, an atomic beam aperture with a 2D array of nanoscopic holes. These holes drilled periodically at a period of the atomic transition wavelength on a 75nm-thick silicon nitride membrane. The atoms are prepared in the excited state just before they entered the cavity. Inside the cavity, the atom emits a photon with a probability proportional to the vacuum-field intensity at its position. In this way, they could obtained 2D image of the vacuum energy distribution in the transverse directions. The profile of the vacuum energy in the direction of the atomic motion was obtained from the spectrum of the emitted photons. The time-varying vacuum field that the atom experiences during the transit is encoded in the spectrum as transit-time broadening. Combining these sets of information, they could construct the 3D image of the vacuum energy density in the cavity...The vacuum-field amplitude was as large as 1 V/cm in their microcavity.

Explanation of experiment



At the present, I have enough time to draw only a hasty conclusion, which I may elaborate further in the future, both in this post and in future posts.

The experiment described here confirms many of my ideas developed by my research as documented by my previous posts. I have written that the physical vacuum (space) is not empty, but rather a plenum of energy involving the zero point energy of the electromagnetic field. Space also has no geometry. Geometry emerges in relation to the matter matrix, which itself emerged from space as a result of the Big Bang. Nevertheless, there is an attachment of space to the matter matrix, and its effects emerge as geometrical. These effects emerge as a different kind of causality, sometimes called simultaneous causality, as opposed to temporal causality where a cause precedes an effect in time. In this mix, the whole of what we call physical reality comes out as an emergent property from a much deeper level (or levels) of reality. Further, the prompting from one level of reality, such as the zero point energy, causes things to happen on a lower level of reality, such as the spontaneous emission of radiation by an atom in an excited energy state.

-- Download Note on an Astounding Recent Experiment as PDF --

This entry was posted in electricity and magentism, energy, frame of reference, History, philosophy, physics, quantum physics, waves and vibrations. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *