Posts Tagged ‘Casimir Force’

Zero Point Energy Machine

December 22, 2013

Are there science fiction technologies nobody expects, over the horizon? Yes. Let me present the CASIMIR FORCE. And suggest, with my characteristic generosity, how to make an energy producing machine from it.

To understand what I propose to make, one has to visualize this: fundamentally, there are no particles, nor fields, only waves. (De Broglie’s) Matter Waves (invented in 2013). Those matter waves are also all over. In particular, the waves are in between two electrically conducting plates, and outside them, too.

Between the plates there are fewer waves. Why? Those waves basically die when they touch an electrically conductive surface. So the only waves present, between the plates, are basically like strings attached on both sides (the exact same picture as the “harmonic oscillator”) Thus the frequencies permitted in between plates are few. But outside the plates, the frequencies can be anything.

The waves are related to the phenomenon known as “particles”: particles carry momentum. As they bounce around, they push. But they are fewer pushing from inside. Hence there is a force that forces the plates to come closer.

Fewer Quantum Matter Waves Inside = Less Pressure, So Plates Squeeze Until More Photons Are Trapped Inside

Basically, one can say that the vacuum is more vacuous inside, between the plates than outside. The vacuum gap was measured, and it’s called the Casimir Force, after his discoverer (Casimir was a Dutch physicist).

This is often (a bit abusively) described as the “Zero Point Energy”. (Einstein and a colleague introduced the notion of “nullpunktenergie” in 1913.) I used the term, though, because it makes an excellent slogan.

Can one generate energy from Zero Point Energy? Yes. Even gecko lizards do it.

How to go to the stars with ZPE? By generating motion. Motions will allow to move magnets, hence generate electricity. To generate motion, connect the plates to springs keeping them apart (but not so far that the Casimir force would disappear). Suppose the plates are made of semiconductor material. Plug in a base current turning them conductive. At that point, the Casimir force turns on, and the plates come closer. When they are close enough, cut the base current: the springs pull back the plates, unleashing an escape interrupter, repeating the process. So it repeats.

The rest, ladies and gentleman, is just technological details, like building tiny enough magnets… But that could take a while, as it would require mastery of constructing nanoscale devices. Technology can take a long time to develop: it took 150 years to go from discovery of the photovoltaic effect until the first practical photocells. The example of controlled thermonuclear fusion shows the same: it took 60 years to reach breakeven pure thermonuclear fusion controlled energy production in 2013… although poorly controlled thermonuclear fusion was demonstrated by spectacular explosions, in the early 1950s (it was so poorly controlled that, because of a conceptual mistake, not understanding that Lithium 7 would turn into Li6 during the explosion, and then fuse, the Castle Bravo explosion released 15 megatons of TNT, instead of the expected maximum of 5 Megatons).

In any case, progress is being made in harnessing the Casimir Force.

This, in truth, the Casimir Effect is nothing new. It’s all about waves. The Casimir Force, in a sense was well-known to mariners of old. Two tall ships in a long swell, but without wind, parallel to each other, would be invincibly attracted to each other, and crash, with catastrophic consequences.

Old Mariners Knew The Casimir Force All Too Well.

Old Mariners Knew The Casimir Force All Too Well, as an indisputable danger.

The mathematics, and even the physics are exactly the same. This is a clue that, after all, Quantum Physics may be more natural than usually depicted. And it’s all very natural: geckos, the famous lizards who can run upside down along ceilings, actually use (a variant of) the Casimir Force.

In the title, I used “Zero Point Energy” (ZPE). This is a bit dishonest. Einstein himself so strongly disagreed with some forms of ZPE, that he refused to learn Quantum Electro-Dynamics (QED; although he had the best, most dedicated and patient, professor). However, the basic form, as displayed here, is completely uncontroversial (and an experimental fact).

Waves: Little Understood Yet

Waves: Little Understood Yet

The only question is this: as the Casimir Force, following the recipe above, would provide with enormous amounts of energy, with no pollution whatsoever, even in interstellar space, and as it looks just to be a question of precision nanotechnological construction to make it work, why are no massive technological ZPE program in evidence in the most advanced countries?

It’s not like the CO2 is not building up, and the methane not exuding the permafrost in humongous quantities. And it’s not like the Chinese are not catching up, multiplying Jade Rabbits on the Moon, either…

Patrice Aymé