The phenomena implied by the existence of quantum vacuum fluctuations, grouped under the title of the Casimir effect, are reviewed, with emphasis on new results discovered in the past four years. The Casimir force between parallel plates is rederived as the strong-coupling limit of dgr-function potential planes. The role of surface divergences is clarified. A summary of effects relevant to measurements of the Casimir force between real materials is given, starting from a geometrical optics derivation of the Lifshitz formula, and including a rederivation of the Casimir-Polder forces. A great deal of attention is given to the recent controversy concerning temperature corrections to the Casimir force between real metal surfaces. A summary of new improvements to the proximity force approximation is given, followed by a synopsis of the current experimental situation. New results on Casimir self-stress are reported, again based on dgr-function potentials. Progress in understanding divergences in the self-stress of dielectric bodies is described, in particular the status of a continuing calculation of the self-stress of a dielectric cylinder. Casimir effects for solitons, and the status of the so-called dynamical Casimir effect, are summarized. The possibilities of understanding dark energy, strongly constrained by both cosmological and terrestrial experiments, in terms of quantum fluctuations are discussed. Throughout, the centrality of quantum vacuum energy in fundamental physics is emphasized.
Journal of Physics A Mathematical General
- Pub Date:
- September 2004
- High Energy Physics - Theory;
- Quantum Physics
- 80 pages, 7 eps figures, uses iopart.cls and iopams.sty