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Alternative derivation of the Feigel effect and call for its experimental verification

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Otti CrozeORCiD


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A recent theory by Feigel predicts the finite transfer of momentum from a quantum vacuum to a fluid placed in strong perpendicular electrical and magnetic fields. The momentum transfer arises because of the optically anisotropic magnetoelectric response induced in the fluid by the fields. After summarizing Feigel's original assumptions and derivation (corrected of trivial mistakes), we rederive the same result by a simpler route, validating Feigel's semiclassical approach. We then derive the stress exerted by the vacuum on the fluid that, if the Feigel hypothesis is correct, should induce a Poiseuille flow in a tube with maximum speed at ≈ 100mm s-1 (2000 times larger than Feigel's original prediction). An experiment is suggested to test this prediction for an organometallic fluid in a tube passing through the bore of a high-strength magnet. The predicted flow can be measured directly by tracking microscopy or indirectly by measuring the flow rate (≈ 1 ml min-1) corresponding to the Poiseuille flow. A second experiment is also proposed, whereby a 'vacuum radiometer' is used to test a recent prediction that the net force on a magnetoelectric slab in the vacuum should be zero. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Croze OA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Year: 2012

Volume: 468

Issue: 2138

Pages: 429-447

Print publication date: 08/02/2012

Online publication date: 12/10/2011

ISSN (print): 1364-5021

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2946

Publisher: Royal Society


DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2011.0481


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