Quantum vacuum friction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)S40-S46
JournalJournal of Optics B: Quantum and Semiclassical Optics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerated observers
  • Black holes
  • Cosmological particle creation
  • Moving mirrors
  • Quantum vacuum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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