Assuming the existence of virtual particle field ( zero point energy field) Casimir force is produced by 2 parallel conducting plates excluding some of the frequencies between the plates, if these 2 plates are superconducting does that change the amount of frequencies being excluded?

One theory I've read postulates that it is interaction of matter with the ZPF (=zero point field) that is the origin of mass and inertia, if the parallel plates are suppressing the appearance of some of these virtual particles, would that not in some manner be modifying inertia for matter passing between the plates?

  • $\begingroup$ Could you clarify which theory you're referring to re. the orgin of mass. Are you thinking of the Higgs mechanism ? $\endgroup$
    – twistor59
    Jan 24 '12 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ calphysics.org/articles/gravity_arxiv.pdf $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '12 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ This theory is one that appeals to me the most, I guess because it feels beautiful and intuitive! $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '12 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ In the future please link to the arXiv abstract page if possible, e.g. arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0504061 $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Feb 23 '12 at 15:53

Casimir force is an effect of interaction of two neutral but quantum mechanical plates. Neutral means they are not globally charged. Quantum mechanical means they consist of many real particles and fields bound together with laws of quantum mechanics. When people use the conditions of ideal conductivity of plates and write the filed boundary conditions like $E=0$ on the surfaces, one has to keep in mind that such a condition is a solution to the coupled equations of matter and field. You cannot exclude the plates from interaction and concentrate solely on fields. If you add another particle in between, the force will change.

"Inertia" of a matter passing between plates may banally change due to interaction. For example, when you attach your probe body $m_p$ to something else $m_{se}$, the "inertia" of your probe body changes: now you have to pull not only the probe body, but also its attachment. However, this mass change is calculated and corresponds to the total mass, so the mass of the probe body $m_p$ involved into such a calculation $m_{tot}=m_p+m_{se}$ does not change, to be exact.

  • $\begingroup$ so it's not the global charge that's responsible, but does it contribute? Is the Casimir force between 2 neutral parallel plates different than when those 2 plates are charged? I guess in my imagination I'm visualizing the vacuum as a superconducting fluid and that matter is invisible to this fluid, until it's accelerating and then the vacuum acts as if it's causing friction, as soon as it is no longer accelerating it feels no friction, and for gravity if space-time it is compressed around matter them wouldn't that matter be continually experiencing radiation bath of virtual particles? $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '12 at 8:26
  • $\begingroup$ Would 2 parallel plates of neutronium Exclude more frequencies because of it's density? Would it have a greater pressure driving it together? Or is it the size of the cavity $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '12 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ Virtual particles (field oscillators for charges) do not exist in vacuum, but are "attached" to the charge, they are its properties. Neutrons do not have virtual photons so for neutron plates the Casimir effect is zero. $\endgroup$ Jan 25 '12 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ @VladimirKalitvianski: The neutrons have a magnetic moment, so they have magnetic susceptibility, and this would lead to a small casimir effect, as the electromagnetic modes are altered in speed. Lifschitz calculates the Casimir effect in any macroscopic material with linear magnetic susceptibility and electric polarizability. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Maimon
    Jul 23 '12 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RonMaimon: Probably you are right, but the corresponding effect may be very small for neutrons. $\endgroup$ Jul 23 '12 at 13:45

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