Vacuum light shows empty space a myth

Washington: Scientists claim to have produced particles of light out of vacuum, proving that space is not empty. An international team says that its experiment in which tiny parcels of light, or photons, are produced out of empty space has confirmed that a vacuum contains quantum fluctuations of energy, the Nature journal reported.

In fact, the scientists have demonstrated for the first time a strange phenomenon known as the dynamical Casimir effect, or DCE for short.

The DCE involves stimulating the vacuum to shed some of the myriad "virtual" particles that fleet in and out of existence, making them real and detectable. Moreover, the real photons produced by the DCE in their experiment collectively retain a peculiar quantum signature that ordinary light lacks.

The research, led by Chris Wilson of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, shows that a related dynamic effect can occur when such a mirror moves very fast through vacuum. The DCE was predicted over 40 years ago, but had not yet been observed experimentally due to the difficulty of creating the required experimental conditions.