Quantum Physics


Crystal Power: Piezo Coupling to the Quantum Zero Point

Authors: Laurence J. November

We consider electro-optical constructions in which the Casimir force is modulated in opposition to piezo-crystal elasticity, as in a stack of alternating tunably conductive and piezo layers. Adjacent tunably conducting layers tuned to conduct, attract by the Casimir force compressing the intermediate piezo, but when subsequently detuned to insulate, sandwiched piezo layers expand elastically to restore their original dimension. In each cycle some electrical energy is made available from the quantum zero point (zp). We estimate that the maximum power that could be derived at semiconductor THz modulation rates is megawatts/cm3 ! Similarly a permittivity wave generated by a THz acoustic wave in a single crystal by the acousto-optic effect produces multiple coherent Casimir wave mode overtones and a bulk mode. We model the Casimir effect in a sinusoidally graded medium finding it to be very enhanced over what is found in a multilayer stack for the equivalent permittivity contrast, and more slowly decreasing with scale, going as the wavelength 1/λ2. Acoustic waves give comparable theoretical power levels of MW/cm3 below normal crystal damage thresholds. Piezo thermodynamic relations give conditions for effective coupling of the Casimir bulk mode to an external electrical load. Casimir wave modes may exchange energy with the main acoustic wave too, which may partially account for THz attenuation seen in materials. We outline feasibility issues for building a practical crystal power generator.

Comments: 36 pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 19 Apr 2011

Unique-IP document downloads: 261 times

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