Are Wormholes Quantum Vacuum Cleaners?

The wormhole could form shortcuts in space-time (www.designboom.com)

General relativity and quantum dynamics don’t get along too well.

If you had to compare the two it would be like evaluating the differences between a Mac and a PC; both are well-honed examples of modern computing, but both are hopelessly incompatible. In computing, this isn’t too much of a problem, you either use a PC or a Mac, or you buy both for their individual strengths (and then complain about Microsoft regardless). But in physics, when you’re trying to find a unified theory, the fact that gravity has been outcast from the Standard Model club, tough questions need to be asked. Although there is some hope being generated by superstring theory, quantum gravity has a long way to go before it can be proven (although high energy particle accelerators such as the LHC will be able to help out in that department).

As pointed out by KFC at the Physics ArXiv Blog, “physicists have spent little time bothering to find out” how quantum mechanics operates in a curved space-time as predicted by Einstein’s general relativity. But now, a physicist has done the legwork and imagined what a quantum particle would do when faced with one of the most famous loopholes in space-time; the mouth of a wormhole. And what popped out of the equations? Another curious force called the “quantum anticentrifugal force.”

So, what’s that all about?

Rossen Dandolo from the Universite de Cergy-Pontoise, France, decided to focus on the wormhole as this is the most extreme example of curved space-time there is. Wormholes are used over and over in sci-fi storylines because they are theorized to link two locations in space-time (thereby forming a shortcut), or even two different universes. As this is space-time we’re talking about, there’s also some possibility of using wormholes as passages through time. Although wormholes sound like a whole lot of fun, in practical terms, they won’t be of much use without some exotic energy to hold the throat of the wormhole open.

Dandolo, however, isn’t too interested in traversing these holes in space-time, he is interested in finding out how a particle acts when in the locality of the mouth of a wormhole.

Beginning with some bedrock quantum theory, Dandolo uses the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal that stipulates that you cannot know a particle’s momentum and location at the same time. So far, so good. Now, looking at a prediction of general relativity, the wormhole will warp space-time to the extreme, stretching the space around the hole. This space-time stretching causes an increase in uncertainty in the location of the particle. As uncertainty in location increases, the uncertainty in momentum decreases. Therefore, the closer you get to the mouth of the wormhole, the momentum, and therefore particle energy, will decrease.

This interaction between the stretching of space-time and quantum properties of the particle has some amazing ramifications. If the particle’s energy deceases the closer it gets to falling into the wormhole, the wormhole is acting as a potential well; particles will move to a location with less energy. Therefore, a new force — combining both quantum dynamics and general relativity — is acting on particles that stray close to the wormhole: an anticentrifugal force.

This makes wormholes particle vacuum cleaners, exerting a space-time curvature effect on the quantum qualities of matter.

General relativity and quantum dynamics might have some stronger ties than we think…

Source: Wormholes Generate New Kind of Quantum Anticentrifugal Force, by KFC on the ArXiv Blog.

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12 responses to “Are Wormholes Quantum Vacuum Cleaners?

  1. I find this sentence to be conceptually worng at all -or am i missing something- “As uncertainty in location increases, the uncertainty in momentum decreases. Therefore, the closer you get to the mouth of the wormhole, the momentum, and therefore particle energy, will decrease.”You get a smalller UNCERTAINTY of the momentum, but not a smaller momentum, so the particle energy is NOT smaller or bigger than before you approached the worm hole, it is just better defined in terms of the error that the measurement could have. May be before it was 100 KJ +- 10, and now it is 100 KJ +- 5Plase, any one understanding it better than me, could please try to clarify?

    • I'm with Srgio on this. Either the Mr. Dandolo is a bad phisicist, or the writer got it wrong.Another delicate point is that the Heisenberg principle asserts that the product of location uncertainty and momentum uncertainty has a hard minimum. That means that as the location uncertainty grows, the momentum uncertainty MIGHT decrease, or it might not.Now that I think of it, I'm unsure that stretching space even increases the location uncertainty….

  2. Pingback: ScienceBlogs Channel : Physical Science | BlogCABLE.COM

  3. I'm with Srgio on this. Either the Mr. Dandolo is a bad phisicist, or the writer got it wrong.Another delicate point is that the Heisenberg principle asserts that the product of location uncertainty and momentum uncertainty has a hard minimum. That means that as the location uncertainty grows, the momentum uncertainty MIGHT decrease, or it might not.Now that I think of it, I'm unsure that stretching space even increases the location uncertainty….

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