Quicky on the Casimir Effect

In summary, the conversation involves a question about the Casimir effect and how destructive interference cancels out other possible frequencies. The person is looking for a mathematical explanation for this concept.
  • #1
spock0149
31
0
Hey folk,

I'm not sure if this would be more approproate in the Calculus section because I think the anser probably involves Fourier transforms.


My understanding of the Casimir effect is that only standing waves can form between the two plates, and thus the energy looks something like:

[tex]\sum_{n=0}^\infty 2\pi \hbar \frac{n}{L}[/tex]

My question is the following:

All other possible frequencies CANCEL via destructive interference. Can anyone explain to me how to show this mathematically??

I've always 'known' this, but want to see it in the math.

Any help appreciated!

Spock
 
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  • #2
"All other possible frequencies CANCEL via destructive interference."

I don't think this correct. The other waves\frequencies exit outside of the the volume between the plates. These are the ones causing the force.

Someone correct me if this is not a way of thinking of it.
 
  • #3
,

The Casimir effect is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs when two uncharged parallel plates are placed in a vacuum. It is caused by the presence of virtual particles in the vacuum, which create a pressure between the plates that pushes them together. This effect has been experimentally observed and has important implications in various fields of physics, including quantum field theory and cosmology.

In regards to your question about the frequencies canceling out via destructive interference, this can indeed be shown mathematically. The key lies in understanding the boundary conditions imposed by the two plates. These boundary conditions restrict the possible frequencies of the standing waves that can exist between the plates. As you correctly mentioned, only standing waves can form between the plates, and these standing waves must satisfy the boundary conditions.

Using Fourier transforms, we can express the energy of the system as a summation of all possible frequencies that satisfy the boundary conditions. However, since the boundary conditions only allow for certain frequencies, this summation will only include those frequencies and all others will cancel out via destructive interference. This can be seen by considering the phase differences between the waves at the boundaries of the plates, which must be equal for the waves to constructively interfere.

I hope this helps to clarify the mathematical understanding of the Casimir effect. It is a complex phenomenon that requires a deep understanding of quantum mechanics and field theory, but with the right tools and equations, we can gain a better understanding of its underlying principles. Keep exploring and asking questions, Spock. That is the true spirit of science.
 

What is the Casimir Effect?

The Casimir Effect is a physical phenomenon that occurs between two uncharged, parallel plates in a vacuum. It is caused by the fluctuations of electromagnetic energy in the vacuum, which creates a force between the plates.

Who discovered the Casimir Effect?

The Casimir Effect was first predicted by Dutch physicist Hendrik Casimir in 1948. However, it was not experimentally confirmed until 1958 by scientists at Philips Research Labs.

What is the significance of the Casimir Effect?

The Casimir Effect is significant because it provides evidence for the existence of virtual particles and supports the theory of quantum mechanics. It also has potential applications in nanotechnology and energy harvesting.

Can the Casimir Effect be observed in everyday life?

No, the Casimir Effect is only observable in very small distances, such as the nanoscale. It is not noticeable in everyday life due to the significant distance between objects.

How is the Casimir Effect related to dark energy?

There is currently no direct connection between the Casimir Effect and dark energy, a mysterious force that is thought to be responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe. However, some scientists have proposed that the Casimir Effect may be related to dark energy through the concept of vacuum energy.

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