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The quantum vacuum at the foundations of classical electrodynamics

MPG-Autoren
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Leuchs,  G.
Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Villar,  A. S.
4pi Photon Atom Coupling, Leuchs Division, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Sanchez-Soto,  L. L.
Guests, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Max Planck Society;

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Zitation

Leuchs, G., Villar, A. S., & Sanchez-Soto, L. L. (2010). The quantum vacuum at the foundations of classical electrodynamics. SI, 100(1), 9-13. doi:10.1007/s00340-010-4069-8.


Zitierlink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-6ADF-1
Zusammenfassung
In the classical theory of electromagnetism, the permittivity epsilon (0) and the permeability mu (0) of free space are constants whose magnitudes do not seem to possess any deeper physical meaning. By replacing the free space of classical physics with the quantum notion of the vacuum, we speculate that the values of the aforementioned constants could arise from the polarization and magnetization of virtual pairs in vacuum. A classical dispersion model with parameters determined by quantum and particle physics is employed to estimate their values. We find the correct orders of magnitude. Additionally, our simple assumptions yield an independent estimate for the number of charged elementary particles based on the known values of epsilon (0) and mu (0) and for the volume of a virtual pair. Such an interpretation would provide an intriguing connection between the celebrated theory of classical electromagnetism and the quantum theory in the weak-field limit.