Do atoms exist in a vacuum?
I don't think the question has anything to do with QM: whether a space is a vacuum or not has nothing at all to do with whether there is EM radiation in it.....and there's always EM radiation in it.
I guess it all depends on how hypothetical the OP wants to get. You can find volumes of a few cc of perfect vacuum in space, but these spaces have EM radiation traveling through them. That's the answer to the OP's questions in reality: You can't, in real life, have a space with no EM radiation traveling through it.
So if the OP wants to assume a space completely insulated from EM radiation, then s/he will have to be specific about which scientific laws should apply to this space and which shouldn't. And the answer depends on the choice of assumptions.
I guess what I'm really trying to get at is, if a vacuum is filled with eletromagnetic radiation, can it be classified as a "perfect vacuum"?
Sorry, for not being clearer... I'm having a discussion with someone else. And, he's insisting that nothing exists between atoms. I beleive that electromagnetic radiation does. But, since as he claims, he's the "expert" on the subject, my arguing with him is pointless.
Yes - by definition.I guess what I'm really trying to get at is, if a vacuum is filled with eletromagnetic radiation, can it be classified as a "perfect vacuum"?
No worries - I have a seventh sense for this sort of thing.jarednjames said:Well, I'm way off then.
Apologies russ, seems like you were on the right track.
1. If arguing is pointless then don't argue.
2. Atoms are made of charged particles (or waves if you prefer). The theoretical limit for the range of the electrostatic force is in the billions of light years so I would say that electrostatic force would exist between 2 atoms in an otherwise completely empty universe unless they are very far apart. If the 2 atoms are moving with respect to each other then electrostatic would also imply electromagnetic.
3. In our universe atoms and EM are not the only candidates for occupying a vacuum. How about neutrinos, dark matter, and dark energy for starters.
Yes - by definition.
Thanks. I'm not looking to support an argument with theory.
Do you have any references to support your answer?
In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in practice.
A vacuum is defined as being a place where there is an absence of matter not em radiation. Don't confuse the two.