Monday, February 18, 2008

Boiling the vacuum

This is discussed in the comments section of the preceding post about the super laser. Apparently "boiling the vacuum" is creating matter in a vacuum by injecting enough focused energy and having that energy convert into matter (remember e=mc2). A reference is here and here for those wanting to know more.

Update: 2/20/2008

This appears to be a very popular topic and as such I have searched for additional relevant references without much luck. For those not wishing to follow the above links, here is another reference to this theorized(?) phenomenon.

Such X-ray lasers may allow also for high-field science applications by exploiting the possibility to focus their beams to a spot with a small radius, hopefully in the range of the laser wavelength. Along this route one obtains very large electric fields, much larger than those obtainable with any optical laser of the same power. We consider here the possibility of obtaining an electric field so high that electron-positron pairs are spontaneously produced in vacuum (Schwinger pair production) and review the prospects to verify this non-perturbative production mechanism for the first time in the laboratory.

This reference seems to be extremely similar to the first link above and may reference the same underlying source. From there you can download the complete paper (in what some Windows users would consider non-standard formats).

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