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Ginzburg effect in a dielectric medium with dispersion and dissipation

Lang, S.; Sauerbrey, R.; Schützhold, R.; Unruh, W.

As a quantum analog of Cherenkov radiation, an inertial photon detector moving through a medium with constant refractive index n may perceive the electromagnetic quantum fluctuations as real photons if its velocity v exceeds the medium speed of light c/n. For dispersive Hopfield type media, we find this Ginzburg effect to extend to much lower v because the phase velocity of light is very small near the medium resonance. In this regime, however, dissipation effects become important. Via an extended Hopfield model, we present a consistent treatment of quantum fluctuations in dispersive and dissipative media and derive the Ginzburg effect in such systems. Finally, we propose an experimental test.

Keywords: dielectric media; dispersion and dissipation; quantum vacuum phenomena; Ginzburg effect; inertial atom; spontaneous excitation

Permalink: https://www.hzdr.de/publications/Publ-33124
Publ.-Id: 33124