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I Probability of creation of virtual particles

  1. Sep 10, 2017 #1
    Is it correct to assume that all known particles may be created as virtual particles in the vacuum? If so, is there a higher probability of a particular particle being produced than say some other particle type. For example, is an electron more likely to be created as a virtual particle than a photon or a quark? Or is the probability of all particles equal? If there is a bias as to the probability of one particle over another, is it tied to it's mass? In cases of complex particles such as a proton or neutron, not being a fundamental particle, (being made of quarks and gluons,) is its probability of appearing as a virtual particle tied to the individual probabilities of all its constituent particles simultaneously being created at the same place at the same time? And in the case of photons, as the wavelength of the photon gets shorter and shorter (or longer and longer), does its probability diminish? Or are all wavelengths of photons equally probable in the vacuum. Sorry there are so many questions here but they are all inter-related.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 10, 2017 #2

    mfb

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    Virtual particles are not real. You cannot "create" them, you cannot count them, and it doesn't make sense to talk about probabilities for that.
     
  4. Sep 10, 2017 #3
    Perhaps then you can enlighten me a bit better than they have done in these articles.
    https://physics.aps.org/articles/v5/131
    https://phys.org/news/2011-11-scientists-vacuum.html

    In the 2nd article I read it to mean that they took kinetic energy and made a pair of photons from the kinetic energy of the 'mirrors' in the experiment. But then they also state that other particles could be made with a lot more energy being required.
     
  5. Sep 10, 2017 #4

    mfb

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    A rapidly oscillating mirror can emit light. You don't need any virtual particles to describe that, although some aspects are easier to calculate if you use them as model. It is simply photon emission by the mirror, and the oscillation of the mirror loses a tiny bit of energy. Add some bad pop-science and you get the description in the article.
    With "electron mirrors" or "proton mirrors" you could potentially create electron/positron or proton/antiproton pairs - but the required oscillation would be so strong that would rip apart everything.
     
  6. Sep 11, 2017 #5
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