Light-front analysis of the Casimir effect

Sophia S. Chabysheva, John R. Hiller

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2 Scopus citations


The Casimir force between conducting plates at rest in an inertial frame is usually computed in equal-time quantization, the natural choice for the given boundary conditions. We show that the well-known result obtained in this way can also be obtained in Dirac's light-front coordinates. This differs from a light-front analysis where the plates are at "rest" in an infinite momentum frame, rather than an inertial frame; in that case, as shown by Lenz and Steinbacher, the result does not agree with the standard result. As is usually done, the analysis is simplified by working with a scalar field and periodic boundary conditions, in place of the complexity of quantum electrodynamics. The two key ingredients are a careful implementation of the boundary conditions, following the work of Almeida et al. on oblique light-front coordinates, and computation of the ordinary energy density, rather than the light-front energy density. The analysis demonstrates that the physics of the effect is independent of the coordinate choice, as it must be. This is meant not as a new derivation of the Casimir effect but as a demonstration that light-front quantization is not somehow flawed in its treatment of such vacuum effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number085006
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 8 2013


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