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December 13th, 2009

Quantum challenge for USD professor

Abstract:
That last point is the subject of Sheehan's most recent paper, published in the Journal of Chemical Physics. It concerns the possibility that "virtual photons" — particles of light that blink in and out of existence without ever being seen or directly detected — may actually exert real force in a perfect vacuum. If true, it might mean that physical and chemical reactions could be mechanically altered without any exchange of material particles or energy.

"A bit like making something happen by waving a magic wand," Sheehan said, smiling.

To be sure, Sheehan doesn't actually know if this can really happen inside a vacuum. It's theoretical. Experiments need to be done. And if it does happen, it likely occurs only at the infinitesimal, invisible level of quantum mechanics.

Source:
signonsandiego.com

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