Detecting the Unruh Effect

The Unruh effect (or Fulling–Davies–Unruh effect ) is a prediction of quantum field theory that an accelerated observer will observe being in a thermal bath, with radiation due to acceleration through the quantum vacuum. In effect, the acceleration causes some of the virtual particles which constantly appear and annihilate in the quantum vacuum to become real and detectable by the accelerated observer. The effect is similar to the Hawking radiation predicted to occur at the event horizon of a black hole.

The effect is tiny, and was long thought to be undetectable by experiment. At a constant acceleration of one Earth gravity, the temperature increase is around 4\times 10^{-40}°K. The experiment described in the video, published in Nature in June 2021, “Coherently amplifying photon production from vacuum with a dense cloud of accelerating photodetectors”, proposes using gigahertz range microwave radiation to accelerate defects in a lattice within a microwave cavity to achieve acceleration sufficient to detect the Unruh effect.

Here is a PBS Space Time video with background on the Unruh effect.

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Unruh effect kBT = hg/c

The real photon black body radiation energy density seen by detector with proper acceleration g is

Stefan Boltzmann x T^4

this gives a 1/c^6 scaling ~ S^3/2 metamaterial amplification in the model that I have proposed with Professor Keith Wanser, Cal State Fullerton Physics Dept.

Therefore, we predict a greatly amplified Unruh effect in pumped metamaterial resonant accelerating photon detectors. e.g. at rim of rotating disk.

Quantum gravity will also be seen at lower energies because

Lp^2 - hG/c^3 scales as S^3/4

On Nov 30, 2021, at 11:53 PM, Wanser, Keith wrote:

There sure are a lot of people interested in this UAP stuff, but unfortunately, there is too much fringe that is not acceptable to many people, myself included. I am in it for the sheer joy of physics and new ideas that have come out so far, even if the entire thing never works, or turns out that the ideas are incorrect. It is the journey into the unknown and exploration itself that makes it worthwhile. The possibliity of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the long sought after warp field generation or amplification of general relativistic effects are additional motivating factors, much like prospectors hunting for gold.

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Let’s hope they can do the experiment and see … whatever they see!

Personally, my Spidey sense starts to tingle when the conversation turns to virtual particles continuously appearing and disappearing in the quantum vacuum. It may be that this experiment will do to that theory what the Michelson-Morley experiment did to the aether.

I don’t think so. I think the experiment will work as predicted. The existence of virtual particles is not really in doubt in the mainstream physics community - although some pure math types seem to think they are merely an artifact of Feynman diagrams. However, the static Coulomb field is actually a Glauber coherent state of zero frequency spacelike virtual photons with all possible wave vectors in the rest frame of the charge.