Near lightspeed infinite fuel source for interstellar travel?
Light -- out of nothing? Out of sweet sod-all? Brain boggling. But... This is perhaps the Friday morning coffee talking here, so the Utter Bollix Filter should be quickly applied -- how much electricity did it take to power the magnetic fields? And could we harvest the resulting light to sufficiently re-power the magnetic fields to repeat the process? Which could then create more light ... which could then, you know, blah blah blah, to effectively/potentially create ... ... a perpetual power generation machine? Think of it, free power ... and all of it ours! Ours! Damn, this coffee buzz is fading. Reality intrudes once more. Back to work.
Kostas Pappas
austint, And if we could use dark energy instead of electricity to power the magnetic fields? (as apparently the Universe does...or did it once). Really can we create or trap dark energy?
Carlos Marron
What are the potential applications of this achievement? This is incredible. The foundations of the universe. Wow...
@inno - Nope. Your entire system would be moving at the speed of light, so the effective relative velocity of your mirror or electric field would be 0. Any faster, as in the experiment discussed in the article, would require sufficient energy to be input into the system thus nullifying the energy created by this effect. However, I can imagine uses in quantum computers and communication as the article suggests. @austint - Haha... yes, back to work. Interesting idea though. To do that, the efficiency of your energy recapture system would have to be greater than 100%. Currently, mass-produced solar panels have an efficiency of 6% to 20% whereas the best efficiency achieved in labs is currently 40%. Perhaps we\'ll achieve 100% efficiency someday, but never more than 100%. And, certainly, the energy required to generate the effect would, of course, keep it from being perpetual. In fact, I think your net would always be negative because the energy put into the system will always be greater than what you could get out.
A perfect vacuum is impossible to achieve, at least in \'practice\' (theoretically anything is possible)
This is not a source of free energy. I don\'t know the exact mechanism but I suspect that the momentum of the mirror is converted to the energy needed to realize the photons. By definition a mirror is something that interacts with electric fields (the electric fields of the photons interacting with the loosely bound electrons in the mirror is what creates the mirror effect). Therefore, I would think that there would be some inertia effect in moving the electrons that would result in a sort of push back so that the momentum of the mirror convert into making the virtual photons real. This is a classical argument. I don\'t know the quantum equivalent.
Heavy stuff. Will life ever be the same now?
Gregg Eshelman
Step One or perhaps One Point Five towards a Star Trek style transporter? Look really closely at the image and you can see a tiny light tank driven by a tiny Jeff Bridges saying \"Can we merge with this memory, BIT?\" ;)
Anumakonda Jagadeesh
Great Achievement.