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Zero Point Energy as a weapon?

  1. Nov 24, 2011 #1
    I remember reading an old article about ZPE. Physicists claim that the ZPE found within a common light bulb has the potential to boil away the Earth's oceans. This got me to thinking of Star Wars and the super laser of the Death Star. It destroyed a whole planet! I know it was only a sci-fi movie, but it must have had some actual physics behind the concept. Would a ZPE laser be powerful enough to destroy Earth?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 27, 2011 #2
    Zero-point energy is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may have; it is the energy of its ground state.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-point_energy

    It's the lowest possible state becuase of vacuum energy.

    Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space even when the space is devoid of matter (free space).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_energy

    The unruh effect relates the acceleration of a particle to absorbing vacum energy increasing the tempature.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unruh_effect

    ZPE is "harmless." I doubt the acceleration of electrons in a lightbulb absorbs very much if any vacuum energy.
     
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