Recently a bound on negative energy densities in four-dimensional Minkowski spacetime was derived for a minimally coupled, quantized, massless, scalar field in an arbitrary quantum state. The bound has the form of an uncertainty-principle-type constraint on the magnitude and duration of the negative energy density seen by a timelike geodesic observer. When spacetime is curved and/or has boundaries, we argue that the bound should hold in regions small compared to the minimum local characteristic radius of curvature or the distance to any boundaries, since spacetime can be considered approximately Minkowski on these scales. We apply the bound to the stress-energy of static traversable wormhole spacetimes. Our analysis implies that either the wormhole must be only a little larger than Planck size or that there is a large discrepancy in the length scales which characterize the wormhole. In the latter case, the negative energy must typically be concentrated in a thin band many orders of magnitude smaller than the throat size. These results would seem to make the existence of macroscopic traversable wormholes very improbable.
Physical Review D
- Pub Date:
- May 1996
- Spacetime topology causal structure spinor structure;
- Quantum field theory in curved spacetime;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- 26 pages, plain LaTex