Even when the Higgs particle is finally detected, it will continue to be a legitimate question to ask whether the inertia of matter as a reaction force opposing acceleration is an intrinsic or extrinsic property of matter. General relativity specifies which geodesic path a free particle will follow, but geometrodynamics has no mechanism for generating a reaction force for deviation from geodesic motion. We discuss a different approach involving the electromagnetic zero-point field (ZPF) of the quantum vacuum. It has been found that certain asymmetries arise in the ZPF as perceived from an accelerating reference frame. In such a frame the Poynting vector and momentum flux of the ZPF become non-zero. Scattering of this quantum radiation by the quarks and electrons in matter can result in an acceleration-dependent reaction force. Both the ordinary and the relativistic forms of Newton's second law, the equation of motion, can be derived from the electrodynamics of such ZPF-particle interactions. Conjectural arguments are given why this interaction should take place in a resonance at the Compton frequency, and how this could simultaneously provide a physical basis for the de Broglie wavelength of a moving particle. This affords a suggestive perspective on a deep connection between electrodynamics, the origin of inertia and the quantum wave nature of matter.
Annalen der Physik
- Pub Date:
- May 2001
- quantum vacuum; mass; zero-point field; inertia; gravitation; stochastic electrodynamics;
- General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
- Annalen der Physik, in press