I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation & lab thrusts without any dark stuff or adjustment. My University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch. Most of my content is at patreon now: here

Monday 19 September 2016

Unruh Radiation Confirmed?

One of the criticisms of MiHsC (quantised inertia) is that "it relies on Unruh radiation which has not been seen". The fact that MiHsC predicts a whole range of important anomalies is some evidence for its use of Unruh radiation, but it is not direct evidence. In this blog entry I'd like to show you why I'm fairly confident that Unruh radiation has also been directly detected, based on papers by Beversluis et al. (2002) and Smolyaninov (2008).

Unruh radiation is usually difficult to see, to put it mildly, because its wavelength is L=8c^2/a, where a is acceleration and c is the speed of light, so for a typical acceleration of 9.8 m/s^2 the wavelength is eight light years. You'd have to wait eight years for the wave to pass by and be confirmed. It would make for a nice quiet sinecure, but there is a quicker way to see them. The formula shows that to produce Unruh waves near the more familiar EM spectrum you need to increase the acceleration, hugely!

This was done unwittingly by Beverluis et al, 2002. They shone a 780 nm laser at a gold nanotip, a very sharp pin if you like, so that the 'plasmons' (quantised waves of free electrons) formed had to travel over the very sharp tip (radius of curvature, r=10^-6 m) at a very fast speed (v) and were therefore accelerated by

a = v^2/r = c^2/10^-6 = 9x10^22 m/s^2.

They noticed an anomalous photoluminescence from the nanotip with a wavelength of about 900 nm (see the Figure below, from Beversluis et al., 2002, which shows the intensity of the radiation emitted on the y-axis, as a function of wavelength, on the x-axis. See the peak at 900 nm). Beversluis et al. proposed a complex 3-stage process to explain it but also stated that each step was implausible.

Enter Smolyaninov (2008) who claimed that their suggested 3-step process for explaining this 900 nm radiation was indeed implausible, and showed how the conversion of 780 nm laser light to 900 nm photoluminescence could be due to Unruh radiation instead. It works as follows: the 780 nm laser light impacts the gold surface and creates 'plasmons' (quantised waves of free electrons) which zoom around the sharp bend at the tip (this is well known). The plasmons' acceleration generates Unruh waves of wavelength L = 8c^2/a = 8000 nm. The newly-incoming laser photons excite the gold molecules and normally they'd then drop back to the ground energy state and emit the same frequency photon (Rayleigh scattering), but the ground state is now higher because of the Unruh excitation so the molecules don't lose as much energy as they gained, and the light they emit now has a lower energy (a longer wavelength). In more typical, non-Unruh, cases this is called Raman scattering and is usually undetectable, but for rough surfaces it can be enhanced (a well-known process called Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering, discovered first by Martin Fleischman in 1973, well before he co-discovered cold fusion / LENR). So the emitted light has a lower energy and frequency as follows:

f(emitted) = f(laser) - f(Unruh)

Replacing frequencies with wavelengths, L, given f = c/L

c/L(emitted) = c/L(laser) - c/L(Unruh)

L(emitted) = 1/(1/L(laser)-1/L(Unruh)) = 864 nm.

This predicts the emission of light of wavelength 864 nm (or above, from the less curved parts of the nanotip), which agrees with the observed anomalous photoluminescence seen by Beversluis et al. of around 800 nm and above (see figure) and so this is good evidence that Unruh radiation has been indirectly seen, since other explanations have been implausible, so far.

This interests me not only because it provides more direct evidence for Unruh radiation, but also that it implies that Unruh waves, seen only in the reference frame of the accelerated object, can cause directly testable effects in the laboratory frame, and this makes me wonder about sonoluminescence (which MiHsC predicts) and LENR (which it doesn't yet, but might if high accelerations are involved).

One way to confirm that this experiment shows Unruh radiation would be to vary the curve of the nanotip and see if the emitted wavelength varies as expected (for example, a spherical nanotip, of uniform curvature, with a cylindrical stem should show a narrower Unruh-peak). Another more direct test of MiHsC (quantised inertia) itself would be to try to interfere with these shorter Unruh waves by shielding them, to see if the plasmons' inertia (trajectory) is affected.


Beversluis, M.R., A. Bouhelier, L. Novotny, 2003. Continuum generation from single gold nanostructures through near-field mediated intraband transitions. Phys. Rev.B., 68, 115433.

Smolyaninov, I.I., 2008. Photoluminescence from a gold nanotip in an accelerated reference frame. Preprint


Alain_Co said...

you connect LENR and emdrive through Fleischmann, SERS, and Unruh waves... Funny.

Rigel said...

Now I can see Leonard Susskind doing a MiHsC=LENR lecture like ER=EPR down the road in a few years

AdamW said...

This sounds like something that could be scaled up to more manageable dimensions - some sort of cryogenic far-infrared or short-microwave experiment. Wouldn't have to guess the radius then.

AdamW said...

In fact it would be funny if it required work in the terahertz / mm-wave region - to balance the reproducibility of the curved surface against the size of the signal - that would explain why it's never been seen before, that being the hardest range to work in (falling between what can be done easily with circuitry and what can be done easily with transitions) :) I'm reminded of an interview many years ago with one of the CERN crowd: 'Higgs is bound to be at [x] mass, because that's the hardest place to find the signal in the noise.'

qraal said...

Hi Mike
Sorry to go a bit off-post, but a friend pointed out this rather surprising preprint from Stacy McGaugh about MOND...

http://arxiv.org/abs/1609.05917 The Radial Acceleration Relation in Rotationally Supported Galaxies

...which prompted this response from Milgrom himself...

http://arxiv.org/abs/1609.06642 MOND impact of the recently updated mass-discrepancy-acceleration relation

...which has this surprising line: For example, the fitting formula they use, seemingly as a result of some unexplained inspiration, follows in its salient properties from the basic tenets of MOND, and has already been used in the past in several MOND analyses. No other possible origin for such a function is known.

I was glad I wasn't drinking when I read that bit as I would've snorted it out my nose.

Mike McCulloch said...

qraal: Indeed, Milgrom was wrong to say MoND is the only relation that produces this type of behaviour. MiHsC/quantised inertia does too!

Looking at the data McGaugh presented in his Fig. 3, MiHsC differs slightly from his relation but also agrees with the data. Furthermore MiHsC/quantised inertia is a proper physical theory, unlike MoND which is just an empirical relation that needs a tuning parameter to be set (a0). MiHsC predicts it all just from c and the Hubble scale. I feel a blog entry coming on..

JC Thomas said...

I assume you've seen this new study indicating that the distribution of normal matter in rotating galaxies precisely determines gravitational acceleration (in contradiction to the dark matter model): /www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160921085052.htm

Is this result predicted by MiHsC?

Mike McCulloch said...

Yes, it is predicted by MiHsC. See blog to follow shortly..

Zephir said...

Isn't the Unruh radiation simply the dynamic Casimir effect?

Zephir said...

/* MoND which is just an empirical relation that needs a tuning parameter to be set (a0). MiHsC predicts it all just from c and the Hubble scale */

a0 can be estimated as a product of Hubble constant and speed of light, therefore the MoND doesn't differ from MiHsC so much - it's merely a quantification of quantum correction of gravity with Hubble red shift, which has also origin in scattering of light with quantum fluctuations.