Questions tagged [vacuum]

A region of space devoid of any fluid molecules resulting in a zero pressure in ideal cases. In practice, even space has a small but finite number of molecules. In QFT, it signifies the ground state devoid of excitations/particles.

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95
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7answers
19k views

How can a black hole produce sound?

I was reading this article from NASA -- it's NASA -- and literally found myself perplexed. The article describes the discovery that black holes emit a "note" that has physical ramifications ...
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If I stood next to a piece of metal heated to a million degrees, but in a perfect vacuum, would I feel hot?

A friend of mine told me that if you were to stand beside plate of metal that is millions of degrees hot, inside a 100% vacuum, you would not feel its heat. Is this true? I understand the reasoning ...
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Does gravity exist in a vacuum?

My understanding has always been that it does from conventional science courses, but really thinking about it, I was wondering if this is really the case. To my limited understanding there is a ...
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Do virtual particles actually physically exist?

I have heard virtual particles pop in and out of existence all the time, most notable being the pairs that pop out beside black holes and while one gets pulled away. But wouldn't this actually violate ...
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Vacuum collapse — why do strong metals implode but glass doesn't?

This question has been puzzling me lately. I'm sure you've seen demonstrations of metal containers imploding when evacuated. Here, for example, are two videos of vacuum collapse: experiment 1, ...
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Are vacuum fluctuations really happening all the time?

In popular physics articles and even some physics classes I've been to, the vacuum of space is described as being constantly full of quantum fluctuations. Supposedly, all sorts of particle-...
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Why does the vacuum even have permeability and permittivity?

The vacuum is empty, yet it seems to have 2 properties: it's absolute permeability and absolute permittivity, which have specific, finite, non-zero values. Why? Why are the vacuum permeability and ...
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What physical evidence is there that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?

What physical evidence shows that subatomic particles pop in and out of existence?
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If we threw a baseball from the ISS, could we deorbit the ball?

Clearly this is a hypothetical question. Say we bring a star baseball player into NASA, prep them appropriately for a mission in space, and fly them up to the International Space Station. They go on ...
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An explanation of Hawking Radiation

Could someone please provide an explanation for the origin of Hawking Radiation? (Ideally someone who I have been speaking with on the h-bar) Any advanced maths beyond basic calculus will most ...
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If particles are points, then aren't atoms empty space?

Zero dimensional points do not take up space, so then wouldn't everything in the universe be literally empty? Or is there something that I'm missing?
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Is space “real”, or is it some sort of accepted postulate?

What is space? It seems to be everywhere in the equations of physics, as some sort of postulate or hidden hypothesis. We also have a direct experience of it, but is it "real"? The fact that we ...
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In a vacuum, can you see light which is not travelling towards you?

In air, when there is light propagating in a direction, we can still see it even when it is not primarily travelling in our direction, because a small part of the light hits the air molecules, and ...
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877 views

Finding the vacuum which breaks a symmetry

I will start with an example. Consider a symmetry breaking pattern like $SU(4)\rightarrow Sp(4)$. We know that in $SU(4)$ there is the Standard Model (SM) symmetry $SU(2)_L\times U(1)_Y$ but depending ...
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Ether vs. Quantum Field Theory

We were asked a question to differentiate the difference between the idea of an Ether and the idea of Quantum Fields. When I really began to think about it I concluded that the ideas are the same. The ...
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How does space affect the human body (no space suit, no space craft)

How does "outer space" affect the human body? Some movies show it as the body exploding, imploding or even freezing solid. I know space is essentially a vacuum with 0 pressure and the dispersion of ...
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Is speed of propeller-driven airplane limited by the speed of sound?

Mine line of thoughts goes like this: A propeller is effectively pushing itself away from molecules of air. The best any propeller can do is to create total vacuum in the front of itself. The ...
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1answer
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How do instantons cause vacuum decay?

From what I read about on instantons (Zee, QFT in a Nutshell, pg 309-310), an instanton is a vacuum solution that maps $S^3 \rightarrow S^3$ (the boundary of Euclideanized spacetime), which comes from ...
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Scattering, Perturbation and asymptotic states in LSZ reduction formula

I was following Schwarz's book on quantum field theory. There he defines the asymptotic momentum eigenstates $|i\rangle\equiv |k_1 k_2\rangle$ and $|f\rangle\equiv |k_3 k_4\rangle$ in the S-matrix ...
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What happens, if a rocket is filled with a vacuum instead of high pressured air?

Suppose you put wheels under a compressed air tank so that it can move horizontally to the right and to the left. Suppose there is a nozzle on the right hand side of the tank (in the picture on the ...
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Can one obtain free energy from the vacuum?

It is known that from the vacuum of a quantum field theory, virtual particle pairs are created and destroyed; is it possible to capture these particles thus obtaining free energy from the vacuum?
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Bell in a vacuum, where does the sound energy go?

I'm not educated in physics, but I learned that a bell struck in a small vacuum chamber will not be heard by people around it (in a school science lab). If it had been surrounded by air, there would ...
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What are the calculations for Vacuum Energy?

In wiki the Vacuum Energy in a cubic meter of free space ranges from $10^{-9}$ from the cosmological constant to $10^{113}$ due to calculations in Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) and Stochastic ...
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How should I clean a part before installing it in a vacuum system?

What are proven procedures for preparing a part that comes fresh out of the workshop for ultra-high vacuum (UHV) and extremely-high vacuum (XUV)?
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Are we living in a false vacuum? Is there any way to tell?

I was thinking of the noted 1980 paper by Sidney Coleman and Frank de Luccia--"Gravitational effects of and on vacuum decay"-- about metastable vacuum states that could tunnel to a lower energy "true ...
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The vacuum in quantum field theories: what is it?

In Section 10.1 of his textbook Quantum Field Theory for Mathematicians, Ticciati writes Assuming that the background field or classical source $j(x)$ is zero at space-time infinity, the presence ...
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What causes the permittivity and permeability of vacuum?

When light travels through a material, it gets "slowed down" (at least its net speed decreases). The atoms in the material "disturb" the light in some way which causes it to make stops on its path. ...
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How can a vacuum implode a metal tank?

An interesting video: youtube video - Railroad tank car vacuum implosion But how is it possible for a metal tank to implode? Even if one can vacuum it, it is subjected to 1 external atmospheric ...
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4answers
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Is there an intuitive description of vacuum entanglement?

People often refer to the fact that the vacuum is an entangled state (It's even described as a maximally entangled state). I was trying to get a feeling for what that really means. The problem is ...
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How can a railcar withstand high pressure but fail under a vacuum? [duplicate]

A 25,000 gallon (95,000 litre) bulk chemical storage railcar can store products with vapor pressures in excess of 200 psia (1.38 Mpa). The same railcar can not withstand a vacuum when being unloaded. ...
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Why is normal ordering a valid operation?

Why is normal ordering even a valid operation in the first place? I mean it can give us some nice results, but why can we do the ordering for the operators like that? Is its definition motivated by ...
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Why does vacuum have a nonzero characteristic impedance towards electromagnetic radiation?

On Wikipedia, the impedance of free space $Z_0$ is defined as square root of the ratio of the permeability of free space $\mu_0$ to the permittivity of free space $\epsilon_0$, i.e. $$Z_0 = \sqrt{\...
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What would actually happen to a person jettisoned into space?

Alright, so we have all seen the movies where someone gets blasted out of the airlock on their starship, or their suit decompresses while on a space walk. The poor schmoe usually either decompresses ...
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Can energy be taken out of the QFT vacuum?

There have been recent questions about the vacuum. In my simplified knowledge the vacuum is like a ground state energy level, and also that there might even exist other lower energy levels than the ...
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How do electromagnetic waves travel in a vacuum?

This is perhaps a total newbie question, and I will try to formulate it the best I can, so here it goes. How does an electromagnetic wave travel through for example, the vacuum of space? I usually ...
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1answer
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After using annihilation operator on vacuum state, why it is $0$ instead of vacuum?

For bosonic systems, why $a|0\rangle=0$ and not $a|0\rangle=|0\rangle$?
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How is the ground state chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process?

This question is about how the ground state is chosen in a spontaneous symmetry breaking process. Say we have a Mexican Hat potential (e.g. the one for the Higgs field) and are sitting at the unstable ...
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1answer
647 views

Existence of the Unruh effect

In the paper Quantum field aspect of Unruh problem (and others with similar approaches) Buchholz and Verch show that applying the rigorous algebraic approach to QFT, the derivation of the Unruh effect ...
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What is the difference between $|0\rangle $ and $0$?

What is the difference between $|0\rangle $ and $0$ in the context of $$a_- |0\rangle =0~?$$
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Why cannot fermions have non-zero vacuum expectation value?

In quantum field theory, scalar can take non-zero vacuum expectation value (vev). And this way they break symmetry of the Lagrangian. Now my question is what will happen if the fermions in the theory ...
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What would happen to wet laundry in the vacuum of space?

Imagine for a second that I was in a college dorm room frustrated that all the dryers were broken or in use. I'm impatient and not a jerk so I don't wait or take out someone else's laundry, I shoot it ...
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1answer
890 views

Is there an argument for using the $\theta$-vacuum for a Yang-Mills theory that works regardless of the presence of fermions?

Consider a Yang-Mills theory, possibly including fermions. It has many possible vacua $\{|n\rangle\}$ labelled by integer winding number $n$, defined as the Maurer-Cartan topological invariant: for ...
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If atoms are mostly vacuum, why are things so rigid around us? [duplicate]

I can't say confidently that an atom is mostly vacuum, but I am somewhat sure of it because electrons and nucleons cover little space, and everything other than these elementary particles in an atom ...
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Is ground state and vacuum state the same thing?

Vacuum state is the lowest possible quantum energy state but isn't this also the definition of the ground state?
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Does string theory have a notion of vacuum?

Does string theory have a notion of vacuum? If yes, what is known about it?
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Vacuum Expectation Value and the Minima of the Potential

Often times in quantum field theory, you will hear people using the term "vacuum expectation value" when referring to the minimum of the potential $V(\phi )$ in the Lagrangian (I'm pretty sure every ...
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1answer
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How to interpret vacuum instability of Higgs potential

If the Higgs mass is in a certain range, the quartic self-coupling of the Higgs field becomes negative after renormalization group flow to a high energy scale, signalling an instability of the vacuum ...
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What's the role of the Dirac vacuum sea in quantum field theory?

It's often claimed that the Dirac sea is obsolete in quantum field theory. On the other hand, for example, Roman Jackiw argues in this paper that Once again we must assign physical reality to Dirac’...
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Strong empirical falsification of quantum mechanics based on vacuum energy density

It is well known that the observed energy density of the vacuum is many orders of magnitude less than the value calculated by quantum field theory. Published values range between 60 and 120 orders of ...
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Why isn't current carried through a vacuum?

The empty vacuum of space shouldn't offer any resistance to a travelling electron, and so a large collection of electrons should similarly travel through a vacuum without resistance. As a result, the ...

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