Can matter in a vacuum create dark energy and dark matter effects?

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Goscience asked the Naked Scientists:
Crazy Speculation:
Hi Nakeds,
I was thinking about the energy of the vacuum--as I understand it the appearance and vanishing of stuff within some Planck's constant limitations.
I'd read somewhere that it was hypothesized that vacuum energy was the reason the vacuum never quite reached absolute zero or conversely, the zero point energy of atoms and molecules was nonzero.
Then I started thinking about dark energy (Things like this happen when I have coffee and a slice of marble pound cake.)
Anyway, I started thinking, perhaps it's not the "vacuum" that has residual energy but spacetime itself or saying it another way, spacetime IS a form of energy.
I know that spacetime is expanding (it's in the news) and that the expansion is accelerating. So I'm wondering if these particles flickering in and out of existence (or saying it another way) this transform of spacetime energy--what is the physical separation between these virtual particles as they come into existence--leptons and baryons and quarks and strings, oh my?
Could this miasma of now you see them now you don't particles be--at times--appearing within sufficient proximity to have a near neighbor repulsive effect--to be sure, a very miniscule one but multiply this over all of spacetime. It could also be the case that those at sufficient mutual distance have an attractive effect and that the two cancel out with a slight edge to repulsion--a value which might be indicated by the elusive cosmological constant.
And if that's the case (bear with the mad hatter please):
state 1: particles appear and on balance have a repulsive effect that stretches space time.
state 2: stretched space time transforms to a larger constellation of near neighbors increasing the repulsive effect, etc., etc.
OK, I have violated the conservation of matter and energy.
Some thoughts about that:
1. So what.
2. Spacetime separation of masses IS accelerating--get over it.
3. Where did all the antimatter go, if it ever existed.
4. A completely different train of thought. If matter and antimatter are emerging from the vacuum in close proximity and annihilating each other, does this lead to the dumping of energy into "normal" spacetime?
Thanks for looking at my crazy query.
Alan Schein
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 08/05/2011 18:01:05 by _system »


Offline yor_on

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It's a nice one :)

But no, assuming that we had a non-zero effect gravitational effect like 'dark matter' in space we should notice it I think? Then gravity between the objects we measure should be different too. And what you're suggesting will indeed destroy all what we treasure most in SpaceTime, its equilibrium, that it show us those symmetries. The idea behind virtual particles is that they do not break any laws of conservation. You need to see that we never, ever, measured a 'virtual particle'. We can't, they're 'virtual' :) They are foremost mathematical expressions, needed to explain some otherwise unexplainable phenomena.

They can do all sort of things due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, have a infinite energy for example, but as they exist so 'momentarily' they have no chance to interact macroscopically, except under certain limited circumstances, as in the Casimir effect. Myself I define them as under Planck time, and if they're inside it? Well, that has to be a very short instant. Also it seems to me as they should take each other out, sort of, if they resemble all other phenomena we see being in a balance. Your idea also contradicts the idea of SpaceTime as such being a state of 'null', with the interactions we see going from usable energy to unusable, as in some sort of entropic conversion.

But it sure is a nice thought. And I agree that on that minuscule plane space most surely is a 'energy' of sorts. The problem being that from that plane, to the plane we live in, a lot of things change and most of the quantum reality (all?) emerges into a more or less linear concept, as Newtons ideas.
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