Quantum vacuum friction

P. C. W. Davies

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    The quantum vacuum may in certain circumstances be regarded as a type of fluid medium, or aether, exhibiting energy density, pressure, stress and friction. Vacuum friction may be thought of as being responsible for the spontaneous creation of particles from the vacuum state when the system is non-stationary. Examples include the expanding universe, rotating black holes, moving mirrors, atoms passing close to surfaces, and the activities of sub-cellular biosystems. The concept of vacuum friction will be reviewed and illustrated, and some suggestions for future experiments made.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S40-S46
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Optics B: Quantum and Semiclassical Optics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • quantum vacuum
    • cosmological particle creation
    • black holes
    • moving mirrors
    • accelerated observers


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