The vacuum friction paradox and related puzzles

Barnett, S. M. and Sonnleitner, M. (2018) The vacuum friction paradox and related puzzles. Contemporary Physics, 59(2), pp. 145-154. (doi: 10.1080/00107514.2018.1439333)

156767.pdf - Accepted Version



The frequency of light emitted by a moving source is shifted by a factor proportional to its velocity. We find that this Doppler shift requires the existence of a paradoxical effect: that a moving atom radiating in otherwise empty space feels a net or average force acing against its direction motion and proportional in magnitude to is speed. Yet there is no preferred rest frame, either in relativity or in Newtonian mechanics, so how can there be a vacuum friction force?

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by a Royal Society Research Professorship (RP150122) and by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Grant No. J 3703-N27).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sonnleitner, Dr Matthias and Barnett, Professor Stephen
Authors: Barnett, S. M., and Sonnleitner, M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Contemporary Physics
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1366-5812
Published Online:19 February 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Taylor & Francis
First Published:First published in Contemporary Physics 59(2):145-154
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
721291Astronomy and physics, theoretical physics and application physics / Quantum Theory. Royal Society Research Professorship.Stephen BarnettThe Royal Society (ROYSOC)RP150122S&E P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY