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Fastest Energy Transfer rate?

  1. Feb 24, 2006 #1
    How fast can energy be transfered? Is there a limit to it? Is it the speed of light? Any prove?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2006 #2
    I don't believe that there is a way to transfer energy faster than the speed of light, even in Quantum Mechanics. The most sophisticated model of energy transfer I can think of is in Quantum Field Theory, where the energy transfer would have to take place via an interaction field, which is quantized as particles. The particles would be constrained to move at the speed of light, or less.

    I suppose there may be a way to use "entangled" quantum states to transfer energy, as I don't know many details of it. I know that information can "travel" faster than the speed of light in this case, but information and energy are different beasts.

  4. Feb 24, 2006 #3


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    Infrared radiation (heat) from the sun is an electromagnetic radiation like visible light. That is as fast as you can get.

  5. Feb 25, 2006 #4
    How can we limit the rate of energy transfer to the speed of light. I understand that that is the time taken to transfer a photon from somewhere. But how can we quantise the number of photons of energy transferred.
  6. Feb 25, 2006 #5
    Quantization and speed of travel are different things. The limit on the speed of travel comes from Special/General Relativity. In the Classical Physics of the 17 and 1800s, much of the energy transfer phenomena were attributed to wave motion or flows of some kind. In the Quantum Physics we usually consider the energy transfer to be due to some kind of field that permeates space. We can quantize these fields, that is we consider the smallest possible "packets" of energy (spin, angular momentum, etc.) that can transfer between one point and another. We admittedly force the issue of the speed of light as being the fastest possible transfer speed by taking Special and/or General Relativity to be one of our postulates when we construct a Quantum Field Theory, but we'd know if we were wrong to do so because then the theory wouldn't test right.

  7. Feb 26, 2006 #6
    Okay, another question. Let say one particle A transfer energy to other particle B, which is close to each other. And now particle B transfer energy back to particle A, and this process keep being continue. Is there a limit on how fast the transfer rate is?
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