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QUANTUM VACUUM ENERGY EXTRACTION
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2008 @ 00:11:26 GMT by vlad
Thanks to Overtone for these extracts from a recently issued Patent:
The following material appears in U. S. Patent #7,379,286
Haisch, et al. / May 27, 2008
QUANTUM VACUUM ENERGY EXTRACTION
Abstract: A system is disclosed for converting energy from the electromagnetic quantum vacuum available at any point in the universe to usable energy in the form of heat, electricity, mechanical energy or other forms of power. By suppressing electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy at appropriate frequencies a change may be effected in the electron energy levels which will result in the emission or release of energy. Mode suppression of electromagnetic quantum vacuum radiation is known to take place in Casimir cavities. A Casimir cavity refers to any region in which electromagnetic modes are suppressed or restricted. When atoms enter into suitable micro Casimir cavities a decrease in the orbital energies of electrons in atoms will thus occur. Such energy will be captured in the claimed devices. Upon emergence form such micro Casimir cavities the atoms will be re-energized by the ambient electromagnetic quantum vacuum. In this way energy is extracted locally and replenished globally from and by the electromagnetic quantum vacuum.
This process may be repeated an unlimited number of times. This process is also consistent with the conservation of energy in that all usable energy does come at the expense of the energy content of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum. Similar effects may be produced by acting upon molecular bonds. Devices are described in which gas is recycled through a multiplicity of Casimir cavities. The disclosed devices are scalable in size and energy output for applications ranging from replacements for small batteries to power plant sized generators of electricity.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Max Planck proposed the concept of zero-point energy in 1912. The idea was then studied by Albert Einstein and Otto Stern in 1913. In 1916 Walther Nernst proposed that the Universe was filled with zero-point energy. The modern field of stochastic electrodynamics is based upon these ideas.
At that same time the structure and stability of the atom were puzzles. The Rutherford model of the atom was based on analogy to the motions of planets (electrons) around the Sun (the nucleus). However this was not feasible. The orbiting electron(s) would emit Larmor radiation, quickly losing energy and thus spiraling into the nucleus on time scales less than one-trillionth of a second, thereby rendering stable matter impossible. It is now known within the context of stochastic electrodynamics (SED) theory that a possible solution involves the absorption of zero-point energy. It was shown in 1975 by Boyer that the simplest possible atom and atomic state, the hydrogen atom in its ground state, would be in a state of equilibrium between Larmor radiation and absorption of zero-point energy at the correct radius for a classical Rutherford hydrogen atom.
Since this solution was not known in 1913, Niels Bohr followed a different path by simply postulating that only discrete energy levels were available to the electron in an atom. This line of reasoning let to the development of quantum theory in the 1920s. The concept of classical zero-point energy was forgotten for a decade. However the same concept found itself reborn in a quantum context in 1927 with the formulation of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. According to the principle, the minimum energy of a harmonic oscillator has the value hf/2, where h is Planck's constant and f is the frequency. It is thus impossible to remove this last amount of random energy from an oscillating system.
Since the electromagnetic field also must be quantized in quantum theory, a parallel is drawn between the properties of a quantum oscillator and the waves of the electromagnetic field. It is concluded that the minimum energy of any possible mode of the electromagnetic field, consisting of frequency, propagation direction and polarization state, is hf/2. Multiplying this energy by all possible modes of the field gives rise to the electromagnetic quantum vacuum, which has identical properties--energy density and spectrum--to the classical zero-point energy studied by Planck, Einstein, Stern and Nernst a decade previously.
The line of inquiry involving classical physics plus the addition of a classical zero-point field was reopened in the 1960s by Trevor Marshall and Timothy Boyer and has been named stochastic electrodynamics (SED). SED asks the question: "Which quantum properties, processes or laws can be explained in terms of classical physics with the only addition being a zero-point electromagnetic field." Two of the early successes were a classical derivation of the blackbody spectrum (i.e. one not involving quantum physics) and the discovery that a classically orbiting electron in a hydrogen atom emitting Larmor radiation but absorbing zero-point radiation would have an equilibrium orbit at the classical Bohr radius. An initial approach to this problem by Timothy Boyer (1975) was perfected by H. E. Puthoff (1987). Their analyses treated the orbiting electron as a harmonic oscillator.
This result underwent a major new development with the recent work of Daniel Cole and Y. Zou which simulated the orbit of a classical electron in a true Coulomb field of a hydrogen nucleus and found that such a realistic electron would find itself in a range of distances from the nucleus, in agreement with quantum mechanics, owing to the random nature of the emission and absorption processes. The mean position is at the correct Bohr radius, but the actual distribution of positions very precisely duplicates the electron probability distribution of the corresponding Schrodinger equation in which the electron is regarded as being represented by a wave function. (In the SED representation the electron is "smeared out" not because it is a wave function, but because as a point-like particle it is subject to the continuous perturbations of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum fluctuations.)
A clear consequence of this theory is that a reduction of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum at the frequency corresponding to the orbit of the electron will result in a decay of the orbit since there will thereby be an imbalance in the Larmor radiation vs. absorption.
The electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy spectrum is proportional to the cube of the frequency. If the vacuum energy is suppressed at the frequency of the "normal" orbit of the electron, this will cause the electron to spiral inward to a higher frequency orbit. In this fashion it will then encounter a new equilibrium situation with the electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy spectrum owing to that spectrum's increase with the cube of the frequency.
If the SED interpretation is correct for the hydrogen atom as the analyses of Boyer, Puthoff, Cole and Zou indicate, it must apply as well to all other atoms and their multi-electron configurations. In that case, a transition of an electron from an excited state to a lower energy state involves a rapid decay from one stable orbit to another, not an instantaneous quantum jump. The details of the bases for stability of electron orbits has yet to be determined by SED theory, but the logical extrapolation from the single-electron hydrogen case is clear: electron orbits in all atoms must be determined by an emission vs. absorption balance and thus are subject to modification involving mode suppression of the electromagnetic zero-point field at appropriate frequencies.
It is claimed that modification of electron orbits is in essence the same process as natural transition between energy levels of electrons in atoms and therefore that the energy released in such a process can be captured in the same way as ordinary transition energy.
By moving an atom into and out of a microstructure that suppresses appropriate modes of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum, an extraction of energy from the electromagnetic quantum vacuum may be accomplished. This can be done with micro Casimir cavities.
The electromagnetic quantum vacuum as a real source of energy is indicated by the Lamb shift between s and p levels in hydrogen, van der Waals forces, the Aharanov-Bohm effect, and noise in electronic circuits.
However the most important effect of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum is the existence of the Casimir Force, a force between parallel conducting plates which may be interpreted as a radiation pressure effect of electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy. Electromagnetic waves in a cavity whose walls are conducting are constrained to certain wavelengths for reasons having to do with transverse component boundary conditions on the wall surfaces. As a result, in a Casimir cavity between parallel plates there will be, in effect, an exclusion of radiation modes whose wavelengths are longer than the separation of the plates. An overpressure of electromagnetic quantum vacuum radiation on the outside then pushes the plates together. An extensive literature exists on the Casimir force and the reality of the force has moved from laboratory experimentation to micro-electro-mechanical structures (MEMS) technology both as a problem (so-called "stiction") and as a possible control mechanism.
The exclusion of modes does not begin all at once at the wavelength equivalent to the plate separation, d. Mode suppression will be strongest for wavelengths of d or greater, but will begin to occur as well for wavelengths falling in between the "stairway" d/n, with the effect diminishing as n increases. We propose to use the partial suppression of modes for wavelengths shorter than d occurring in this fashion in order to be able to employ Casimir cavities of the maximum possible physical size.
Researchers have shown that thermodynamic laws are not violated when energy is "extracted" from zero-point energy, as energy is still conserved and the second law is not violated. Cole and Puthoff have carried out and published thermodynamic analyses showing that there is no violation. Indeed, a thought experiment by Forward (1984) showed a simple, but not practical, energy extraction experiment.
In the stochastic electrodynamics (SED) interpretation of the hydrogen atom, the ground state is interpreted as effectively equivalent to a classically orbiting electron whose velocity is c/137. The orbit is stable at the Bohr radius owing to a balance between classical electromagnetic emission and absorption from the electromagnetic zero-point field. This view, first obtained by Boyer (1975) and subsequently refined by Puthoff (1987) has been further strengthened by the detailed simulations of Cole and Zou (2003, 2004) which demonstrate that the stochastic motions of the electron in this interpretation reproduce the probability density distribution of the Schrodinger wave function. Note that one apparent difference between this interpretation and that of quantum mechanics is that in quantum mechanics the 1s state of the electron is regarded as having zero angular momentum, whereas in the SED interpretation the electron has an instantaneous angular momentum of mcr/137=h/2.pi.. However SED simulations by Nickisch have shown that the time-averaged angular momentum is zero just as in the quantum case owing to the zero-point perturbations on the orbital plane. Thus averaged over enough "orbits" this "classical electron" will fill a spherical symmetric volume around the nucleus having the same radial probability density as the Schrodinger wave function and zero net angular momentum, completely consistent with quantum behavior.
The Bohr radius of the atom in the SED view is 0.529 A (Angstroms). This implies that the wavelength of zero-point radiation responsible for sustaining the orbit is 2*.pi.*0.529*137=455 A (0.0455 microns). It is claimed that suppression of zero-point radiation at this wavelength and shorter in a Casimir cavity will result in the decay of the electron to a lower energy state determined by a new balance between classical emission of an accelerated charge and zero-point radiation at .lamda.<455 A, where .lamda. depends on the Casimir plate separation, d. Note that the tail end of the quantum probability density of the electron (as well as the SED simulation of Cole and Zou) extends beyond five Bohr radii, so that some change in the energy balance could be accomplished even at considerably longer wavelengths of perhaps 0.1 microns-0.2 microns
Since the frequency of this orbit is 6.6.times.10.sup.15 s.sup.-1, no matter how quickly the atom is injected into a Casimir cavity the process will be a slow one as experienced by the orbiting electron. We therefore assume that the decay to a new sub-Bohr ground state will involve gradual release of energy in the form of heat, rather than a sudden optical radiation signature.
Since the binding energy of the electron is 13.6 eV, we assume that the amount of energy released in this process would be on the order of 1 to 10 eV for injection of the hydrogen atom into a Casimir cavity of d=250 A or thereabouts (and perhaps even a larger cavity as noted above). Upon exiting the cavity the electron would absorb energy from the zero-point field and be re-excited to its normal state. The energy (heat) extracted in the process comes at the expense of the zero-point field, which in the SED interpretation flows at the speed of light throughout the Universe. We are in effect extracting energy locally and replenishing it globally. Imagine extracting thimbles-full of water from the ocean. Yes, the ocean is being depleted thereby, but no practical consequences ensue.
Since naturally occurring hydrogen at standard temperature and pressure (STP) is a two-atom molecule, a dissociation process would need to precede an injection of hydrogen atoms into a Casimir cavity. We avoid this complication and take advantage of multi-electron modification by working with monatomic (noble) gases which also have the advantage of being safe and inexpensive.
We work with naturally occurring monatomic gases for three reasons: (1) No dissociation process is required. (2) Heavier element atoms are approximately two to four times larger than hydrogen and thus can utilize and be affected by a larger Casimir cavity which is easier to fabricate. (3) Heavier elements have numerous outer shell electrons, several of which may be simultaneously affected by the reduction of zero-point radiation in a Casimir cavity.
The following five noble gases are potentially suitable: He (Z=2, r=1.2 A) Ne (Z=10, r=1.3 A), Ar (Z=18, r=1.6 A) Kr (Z=36, r=1.8 A) Xe (Z=54, r=2.05 A).
All of these elements contain ns electrons. He has two 1s electrons. Ne has two each of 1s and 2s electrons. Ar has two each of 1s, 2s, and 3s electrons. Kr has two of each of 1s, 2s, 3s, and 4s electrons. Xe has two of each of 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s electrons.
Assuming an outermost electron which is completely shielded by the other electrons (a crude assumption), its orbital velocity would scale as r.sup.-1/2 (the familiar Keplerian period squared proportional to semi-major axis cubed relationship) and thus .lamda. proportional to r/v) will scale as r.sup.3/2. If that is the case, then the larger radii translate as r.sup.3/2 into larger Casimir cavities having an effect on the energetics of the outer electron shells. We would therefore expect that a Casimir cavity having d=0.1 microns (or perhaps even as large as one micron would have an effect on reducing the energy levels of the outermost pair of s electrons . . . and possibly also p electrons and intermediate shell s electrons as well.
It is reasonable to expect that a 0.1 microns Casimir cavity would result in a release of 1 to 10 eV for each injection of a He, Ne, Ar, Kr or Xe atom into such a cavity.
According to a Jordan Maclay, who has done theoretical Casimir cavity calculations, a long cylindrical cavity results in an inward force on the cavity. In the "exclusion of modes" interpretation of the Casimir force, this implies that a cylindrical cavity of diameter 0.1 micron would yield the desired decay of outer shell electrons and subsequent release of energy.
It is now recognized that an electromagnetic quantum vacuum field is formally necessary for atomic stability in conventional quantum theory (Milonni 1994). In the field of physics known as stochastic electrodynamics, this concept has been shown by theory and simulations to underlie the ground state of the electron in the hydrogen atom. The classical Bohr orbit is determined by a balance of Larmor emission and absorption of energy from the zero-point fluctuations of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum in SED theory. It follows that upon suppression of appropriate zero-point fluctuations the balance will be upset causing the electron to decay to a lower energy level not ordinarily found in nature with a release of energy during this transition. A Casimir cavity of the proper dimensions can accomplish this suppression of zero-point fluctuations. A Casimir cavity refers to any region in which electromagnetic modes are suppressed or restricted. Upon entering such a properly designed Casimir cavity the electron energy level will shift and energy will be released. Upon exiting the Casimir cavity the electron will return to its customary state by absorbing energy from the ambient zero-point fluctuations. This permits an energy extraction cycle to be achieved at the expense of the zero-point fluctuations. Although it has not yet been proven theoretically, a similar balance of Larmor emission and absorption of energy from the zero-point fluctuations must underlie the electron states of all atoms, not just hydrogen, permitting any atom to be used as a catalyst for extraction of zero-point energy (the energy associated with the zero-point fluctuations). An analogous process is also believed to underlie molecular bonds, yielding a similar energy extraction cycle.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A system is disclosed for converting part of the energy of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum available at any point in the universe to usable energy in the form of heat, electricity, mechanical energy or other forms of power. This is accomplished using an effect on the electron configurations of atoms predicted by the theory of stochastic electrodynamics (SED). Within the context of SED theory it is predicted that the electron energy levels in atoms are determined by a balance of Larmor radiation vs. absorption of radiative energy from the electromagnetic quantum vacuum. By suppressing electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy at appropriate frequencies a change may be effected in the electron energy levels which will result in the emission or release of energy. This change in energies is analogous to a standard emission of a photon as an electron makes a transition from an excited to a lower energy state, but on a longer time scale and with the change being a continuous one rather than a "jump" from one energy level to another. Mode suppression of electromagnetic quantum vacuum radiation is known to take place in Casimir cavities. A Casimir cavity refers to any region in which electromagnetic modes are suppressed or restricted. When atoms enter into suitable micro Casimir cavities a decrease in the orbital energies of electrons in atoms will thus occur, with the effect being most pronounced for outer shell electrons. Such energy will be captured in the claimed devices. Upon emergence form such micro Casimir cavities the atoms will be re-energized by the ambient electromagnetic quantum vacuum. In this way energy is extracted locally and replenished globally from and by the electromagnetic quantum vacuum. This process may be repeated an unlimited number of times. This process is also consistent with the conservation of energy in that all usable energy does come at the expense of the energy content of the electromagnetic quantum vacuum. Two example variations of a system are disclosed that permit multiple extractions of electromagnetic quantum vacuum energy during passage of a gas through a series of micro Casimir cavities and that operate in a self-sustaining, recycling fashion. Similar effects may be produced by acting upon molecular bonds. The disclosed devices are scalable in size and energy output for applications ranging from replacements for small batteries to power plant sized generators of electricity. Since the electromagnetic quantum vacuum is thought to permeate the entire Universe, devices drawing power from the electromagnetic quantum vacuum in the fashion claimed will be effectively inexhaustible sources of power.
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|Re: QUANTUM VACUUM ENERGY EXTRACTION (Score: 1)
by nanotech on Thursday, July 03, 2008 @ 07:19:53 GMT
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|FINALLY! A viable-seeming patent. I hope this is turned into real working devices soon, we need this.
Question for anyone out there reading this: IF we do manufacture such devices like this, extracting energy from the ether quantum 'vacuum', are there any possible dangers to the universe and local reality? In a recent Discover magazine article discussing the vacuum energy the question about devices extracting it for use came up. One of the physicists, a man named John Baez I believe, said the following (paraphrased): Most of us physics people believe the vacuum is the lowest possible energy state in the universe, if these zero point energy devices work and DO start to extract energy from the vacuum like their proponents claim, then this will actually not be good news, because it will mean we are wrong, and the vacuum is not stable, and is not the lowest energy state, and it means a possible chain-reaction could be set off that will destroy the local and universal space itself."
Now I have three responses to this:
1 if that is so why hasn't it happened yet?
2 If the Dirac Sea theory is true, which it appears to be, then there are even deeper lower energy states than the current vacuum, and so, we can extract energy from there, and this is what the hydrogen atom does in the hydrino process of Randall Mills, by the way.
3 Nature and the universe are far more resilient than people give them credit for. As Tom Bearden points out, don't worry about this, taking energy from the vacuum will be like trying to dip the ocean dry, it will always be replenishing itself at the expense of energy elsewhere.
Ofcourse.......the universe is a HUGE place...........so there is HUGE energy from the vacuum available.........but...I guess in theory...eventually..it could be depleted.............but how many BILLIONS of years would that take? ;)
|Re: QUANTUM VACUUM ENERGY EXTRACTION (Score: 1)
by ElectroDynaCat on Thursday, July 03, 2008 @ 11:06:44 GMT
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|It seems like a workable concept. It has to be because the Patent Office will require a working model.
|PlasmERG noble gas engine patent accepted (Score: 1)
by vlad on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 @ 13:49:07 GMT
(User Info | Send a Message) http://www.zpenergy.com
|An update on the company that claims to have an engine that runs on
noble gas. The fuel is essentially free, and the simple engine would be
cheaper than the engines it would be replacing. New testing and
development facility announced.
Source: PlasmERG_Noble_Gas_Engine_Patent_Accepted [pesn.com]