Quantum electrodynamics in the presence of moving bodies
Progress In Electromagnetics Research (PIER)
The vacuum state of the electromagnetic field close to a dielectric body is not the same in all reference frames. Here we show that this has some surprising consequences. For instance, if we attempt to quantize electromagnetism interacting with a uniformly moving medium (properly including effects of dispersion and dissipation), then the resulting Hamiltonian lacks a lower bound. Consequently, a detector placed close to a moving surface can be excited by the vacuum! It is shown that when the dielectric is allowed to change velocity then the Hamiltonian again becomes bounded from below, thus demonstrating that the source of the energy exciting the detector is the kinetic energy of the dielectric.
The author thanks the EPSRC for financial support
Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium
PIERS 2013, Stockholm, Sweden, 12-15 August 2013
This is the final version of the article. Available from the publisher via the URL in this record.
Proceedings of PIERS 2013, pp. 25 - 27