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What does it mean for half of an empty cavity to be full?

AutorBrown, E.G.; Rey, M. del; Westman, H.; León, Juan ; Dragan, A.
Fecha de publicación14-ene-2015
EditorAmerican Physical Society
CitaciónPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology 91: 016005 (2015)
Resumen© 2015 American Physical Society. It is well known that the vacuum state of a quantum field is spatially entangled. This is true in both free and confined spaces, for example, in an optical cavity. The obvious consequence of this, however, is surprising and intuitively challenging: namely, that in a mathematical sense, half of an empty cavity is not empty. Formally this is clear, but what does this physically mean in terms of, say, measurements that can actually be made? In this paper we utilize a local quantization procedure along with the tools of Gaussian quantum mechanics to characterize the particle content in the reduced state of a subregion within a cavity and expose the spatial profile of its entanglement with the opposite region. We then go on to discuss a thought experiment in which a mirror is very quickly introduced between the regions. In so doing we expose a simple and physically concrete answer to the above question: the real excitations created by slamming down the mirror are mathematically equivalent to those previously attributed to the reduced states of the subregions. Performing such an experiment in the laboratory may be an excellent method of verifying vacuum entanglement, and we conclude by discussing different possibilities of achieving this aim.
Descripción21 págs.; 8 figs.; 2 app.; PACS numbers: 03.67.Bg, 03.70.+k, 11.10.-z
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.91.016005
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1103/PhysRevD.91.016005
issn: 1550-2368
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