Probability of creation of virtual particles

In summary, virtual particles can be created by mirrors, and the probability for different particles is not tied to their mass.
  • #1
BernieM
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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.
 
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  • #2
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.
 
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  • #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.
 
  • #4
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.
BernieM said:
But then they also state that other particles could be made with a lot more energy being required.
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.
 
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Related to Probability of creation of virtual particles

1. What are virtual particles and how are they created?

Virtual particles are particles that exist for a very short period of time, on the order of 10^-23 seconds, and are constantly appearing and disappearing in empty space. They are created through quantum fluctuations, where energy is borrowed from the vacuum and then returned, causing the appearance of particles and their subsequent annihilation.

2. How do virtual particles affect the laws of physics?

Virtual particles do not directly affect the laws of physics, as they are a natural occurrence in the quantum world. However, they do play a role in some physical phenomena, such as the Casimir effect and Hawking radiation.

3. Can virtual particles be detected or observed?

No, virtual particles cannot be directly detected or observed. This is because they exist for such a short amount of time and do not leave a lasting impact. However, their effects can be indirectly observed through experiments and calculations.

4. Are virtual particles important in understanding the creation of the universe?

Yes, virtual particles play a role in our current understanding of the creation of the universe. The concept of inflation, which is a rapid expansion of the universe in its early stages, is thought to be driven by the energy of virtual particles.

5. How do scientists calculate the probability of creation of virtual particles?

The probability of creation of virtual particles is calculated using mathematical equations from quantum field theory. These equations take into account the properties of the vacuum and interactions between particles to determine the likelihood of virtual particles appearing and disappearing.

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