University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Condensed Matter Physics Seminars > Is the Feigel effect real? Theoretical predictions and possible experimental tests.

Is the Feigel effect real? Theoretical predictions and possible experimental tests.

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  • UserDr. Ottavio Croze, University of Glasgow
  • ClockFriday 20 January 2012, 14:00-15:00
  • HousePhysics East 217.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Elizabeth Blackburn.

A recent theory by Feigel predicts trasfer of momentum from the quantum vacuum to magnetoelectric materials (by virtue of the latter’s optical anisotropy). Feigel evaluated the vacuum momentum density of a magnetoelectric semi-classically. I will present a simpler derivation of this momentum density, corrected for trivial errors in Feigel’s calculation. I will then evaluate the associated vacuum stress inside a magnetoelectric. I predict that, if the Feigel effect is real, this stress should induce the measurable flow of organometallic fluids in a tube placed in strong perpendicular electric and magnetic fields (effective magnetoelectric fluids). One would also expect this stress to cause magnetoelectric panes of a `vacuum radiometer’ to turn, though a recent calculation by Obukhov and Hehl predicts zero stress on a magnetoelectric slab. I will discuss experimental tests of these predictions, presenting objections to the theory as well as reasons to test it. To conclude, I will briefly analyse the thermodynamic implications of Feigel effect, comparing it with the Casimir effect, its accepted quantum cousin.

Feigel, A. Phys. Rev. Lett., 92, 020404 (2004)

Croze, O. A. Proc. R. Soc. A, 468, 429-447 (2012)

Obukhov, Y. N. & Hehl, F. W. Phys. Lett. A, 372, 3946–3952 (2008)

This talk is part of the Condensed Matter Physics Seminars series.

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