Casimir effect and vacuum energy and a bit of relativity....

In summary: Casimir vacuum.In summary, the Casimir effect is the force between two plates that are close to each other but not touching. The vacuum energy density between the plates changes due to the geometry of the matter between the plates, so the Casimir effect may not be consistent with the principles of relativity.
  • #36
Ok, that's something I definitely missed, thanks! :P
 
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  • #37
haushofer said:
Just to make sure i get it: in Jaffe's paper fig.3, those external legs are the conducting charges of the plates, right?
No. Those are dielectric functions ##\epsilon## treated as a classical non-dynamic background field.
 
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  • #38
stevendaryl said:
If I understand what the two approaches to deriving the Casimir force are, they sure seem very different:
  1. Treat the electromagnetic field classically, but assume that the charges inside the metal plates are undergoing random internal motion. Then you get a Van der Waals type force between the plates.
  2. Treat the plates classically (as just boundary conditions for the electromagnetic field), and treat the field modes of the E&M field quantum mechanically.
The two approaches seem to be focusing on completely different subsystems, and are making completely different approximations about what to treat classically and what to treat quantum mechanically.
Or
3. Treat both charges and EM field as quantum dynamical mutually correlated fields.
Eq. (14) in my https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.03291 explains the equivalence of the 3 pictures in a very simple way.
 
  • #39
Haelfix said:
Just so people are clear, this business is deeply controversial in the literature and not settled. There are quite a few subtleties involved, and really requires going through the entire analysis with a scalpel.
That's exactly why I have written
https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.03291
 
  • #40
haushofer said:
Is there any simple/intuitive way of seeing why these two seemingly completely different approaches lead to the same answer?
Yes. See Secs. IV.B and IV.C, as well as the discussions around Eqs. (14) and (78) in my https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.03291
 
  • #42
Sorry all for over-advertising my most recent paper, it's probably irritating. o0)
But I have written it precisely with intention to answer the kind of questions which are asked here, so I couldn't sleep well if I didn't point that out to you. :smile:
 
  • #43
Well, it's self-advertisement for something the readers can download for free. That's ok, I'd say :smile:
 
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  • #45
Congratulations! :partytime:
 
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  • #47
At a recent conference I have presented an invited talk entitled

The origin of Casimir effect: Vacuum energy or van der Waals force?

Abstract:
In the literature on Casimir effect there are two approaches that make the same measurable predictions but offer very different explanations on the conceptual level. According to one approach the effect has origin in vacuum energy, while according to another it has origin in van der Waals forces. To resolve the resulting conceptual confusion, I discuss the conceptual aspects of Casimir effect from several different points of view. This includes fundamental particle physics (general principles of quantum electrodynamics), condensed matter physics (electrodynamics in continuous media) and non-relativistic quantum mechanics (a toy model with only a few degrees of freedom). All points of view lead to the conclusion that, at the fundamental microscopic level, Casimir effect originates from van der Waals forces, while the vacuum energy approach is an effective theory valid only at the macroscopic level.

The pdf of the presentation is attached.
 

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