THE ABRAHAM-MINKOWSKI CONTROVERSY
The Abraham-Minkowski controversy is a physics debate concerning electromagnetic momentum within dielectric media. Related theories have been put forward that, should their principles be demonstrated to be true, they may allow the design of a reactionless drive.
By the way, “ electromagnetic momentum within dielectric media” is what also happens in the Biefeld-Brown effect.
From: https://physics.aps.org/story/v22/st20 — “ In the controversy, Max Abraham might appear to be correct, since the momentum of ordinary objects always goes down with decreasing speed. But Hermann Minkowski seems to be favored by quantum mechanics, which says that a photon’s momentum goes up as the light’s wavelength decreases, and the wavelength always shortens as light enters a material from air. Many theoretical arguments appear to point to an Abraham momentum, but most of the experimental evidence to date argues for Minkowski. The experimental difficulty is that in most cases, both formulations lead to the same predicted forces, after one accounts for the momenta of both the light and the medium.”
The theoretical basis for quantum gravity and quantum antigravity are the Minkowski’s equations.
The Biefeld-Brown effect is a particular instance of the fundamental quantum effect described by the Minkowski’s equations — see below: Momentum From Nothing.
It is important to notice that the Feigel effect (the fundamental quantum effect described by the Minkowski’s equations) is a quantum-scale phenomenon, whereas the Biefeld-Brown effect is a macro-scale phenomenon. As a matter of fact, the Feigel quantum effect can also manifest in any macro-scale in the Universe. This is the reason why gravity (and antigravity) as a large-scale cosmic phenomenon is of a fundamentally quantum nature.
“ Self-propulsion in quantum vacuum may be achieved by rotating magneto-electric nano-particles. The back-action follows from changes in momentum of quantum vacuum fluctuations (zero-point energy), generated in magneto-electric materials. This effect may provide new tools for investigation of the quantum nature of our world. It might also serve in the future as a “quantum wheel” to correct satellite orientation in space.”
However, neither the Feigel effect alone, nor the Biefeld-Brown effect alone, nor both of them together, are antigravity, or gravity, yet.
Does dielectric deliver something for nothing?
By now, many people are familiar with the idea that the vacuum contains energy – in fact a great deal of it – and that some can be extracted to do physical work. The standard example is the Casimir effect, where two parallel metal plates are pulled together as they reduce the zero-point energy in the vacuum between them. Now Alexander Feigel of Rockefeller University in New York has predicted an analogous but rather surprising effect: that a dielectric body placed in crossed electric and magnetic fields will extract linear momentum from the vacuum and start to move:
Quantum Vacuum Contribution to the Momentum of the Dielectric Media
Unlike the Casimir effect, which is insensitive to the ultraviolet cut-off needed to make summations and integrals converge, this new effect depends critically upon high-frequency vacuum modes and is, in this sense, more like the Lamb shift. The effect is calculated to be small – about 50 nm/s for a 17 T magnetic field and an electric field of 100,000 V/m – but might just be observable. Further reading: Alexander Feigel 2004, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92 020404.
Momentum From Nothing?
The vacuum of empty space is a restless place. According to quantum mechanics, particles pop in and out of existence, and those “virtual” particles give the vacuum energy and can affect tiny objects. For example, two parallel metal plates will feel a minute force, called the Casimir effect, pulling them together. That’s because virtual photons with certain wavelengths cannot exist between them. The vacuum outside the plates thus has more energy, so it squeezes the plates together.
But the vacuum can also possess momentum, says Alexander Feigel of Rockefeller University in New York, and it should be possible to transfer some of that momentum to a material object. To reach that conclusion, Feigel began by addressing a long-standing controversy in electrodynamics: How should one define the momentum of an electromagnetic field permeating matter? For nearly a century, physicists have had two definitions, one proposed by German physicist Max Abraham and another derived by German mathematician Hermann Minkowski. According to Abraham’s formulation, the momentum of the electromagnetic field should be smaller in materials through which light travels more slowly; Minkowski’s formulation states that in such materials the momentum should be bigger. Using relativity, Feigel found that the Abraham definition accounts for the momentum of the electric and magnetic fields alone, while the Minkowski definition also takes into account the momentum of the material.
Feigel next used his theoretical tools to analyze the momentum inside a material placed in strong, perpendicular electric and magnetic fields. He found that virtual photons traveling through the material would have a strange asymmetry. If the electric field pointed up and the magnetic field pointed north, then virtual photons of a given energy traveling east would have a different momentum from those traveling west. That asymmetry would give the vacuum a net momentum in one direction, and the material would have to gain momentum in the opposite direction to compensate. In fields of 100,000 volts per meter and 17 tesla–which can be created in the lab–the material should move at a rate of 50 nanometers per second, Feigel says, which should be measurable.
Others had reached similar conclusions about the meanings of the Abraham and Minkowski definitions of momentum, but Feigel’s analysis is simpler, says Rodney Loudon of the University of Essex in Colchester, United Kingdom. “He’s done it in quite a nice, elegant way,” Loudon says. However, Ulf Leonhardt of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland says Feigel’s approach may be a little too simple, as it treats the material as a macroscopic object and does not begin with the forces on the individual atoms in it. “There are definitely some subtleties that he’s left out,” Leonhardt says, though the results may still be correct.
Propellantless Propulsion by Electromagnetic Inertia Manipulation: Theory and Experiment
One of the challenges to create the Space Drive being to discover a self-contained means of propulsion that requires no propellant, it was already shown that a solution to the problem does exist, provided the system is endowed with tensor mass properties. It is found that under the assumption of Minkowski’s Energy-Momentum tensor being the right one (Abraham-Minkowski controversy), the electromagnetic field can modify the inertial properties of the generating device, given suitable charge and current distributions. An experiment to settle the question is then proposed. which consists of mounting the device as a seismic mass atop a mechanical suspension. By supplying a periodic voltage to the coils at a frequency close to the fundamental frequency of the seismic suspension, the expected mechanical effect from inertia variation would cause the fixture to resonate, adding up to the microseismic noise induced vibration. Two series of tests were conducted during the period 1993-1997; in practically all cases, the results consistently point to a mechanical vibration induced by matter-electromagnetic field momentum exchange, as predicted by Minkowski’s formulation, after all other sources of vibration were taken into account, or removed when possible.
Propellantless propulsion, as a mechanism not requiring reaction mass or beamed power, does not seem to be out of reach, unless from the theoretical point of view. Space-time warping (and the involved enormous energies) is nor necessary, provided inertia manipulation become feasible, within the framework of a mass tensor formalism. This may be the case with the inertias’ electromagnetic part if some conditions are satisfied, like those verified by the formalism based on the Minkowski’s Energy-Momentum tensor for the electromagnetic field. However, the validity of this formalism is presently arguable under the still-standing Abraham-Minkowski controversy, the main argument being the unsymetrical nature of that tensor. The issue is then highly relevant to innovative, low-term achievable propulsion concepts. Therefore, experimental elucidation of the controversy was sought and instrumented around a so called EMMG (Electra-Magnetic Momentum Generator) device. Tests performed during the period 1993 – 1997, with slightly different instrumentation, produced results, which after processing through spectral analysis, system modeling & identification and optimal filtering techniques, when applicable, consistently pointed to a mechanical vibration induced by mass/inertia tensor warping of the device, or matter-electromagnetic field momentum exchange, as predicted by Minkowski’s formalism. Obviously, along the processing and analysis activities, other sources of vibration were taken into account, or removed when possible, according to a systematic error and disturbance (spurious effects) fighting procedure. Nevertheless, no direct detection of the sought effect by means of input reconstruction was obtained up to now and much work remains to be done to assess, beyond all doubt, the validity of these encouraging results. One of the main concern is power supply induced EM interference due to bad grounding and/or shielding, sharing the same spectral signature with the pursued effect. Had that validity be fully demonstrated, the concept developed in this paper would just be the seed for a restricted class of “propellantless” propulsion: that of “converter” (one shot, or back and forth) type. Present Physics seems to preclude any further progress along this line of work, unless ZPE or some new paradigm come to the rescue.
A Blueprint for a Quantum Propulsion Machine
The quantum vacuum has fascinated physicists ever since Hendrik Casimir and Dirk Polder suggested in 1948 that it would exert a force on a pair of narrowly separated conducting plates. Their idea was eventually confirmed when the force was measured in 1997. Just how to exploit this force is still not clear, however.
In recent years, a new way of thinking about the quantum vacuum has emerged which has vastly more potential. And today, one physicist describes how it could be used to create propulsion.
Before we discuss that, let’s track back a little. According to quantum mechanics, any vacuum will be filled with electromagnetic waves leaping in and out of existence. It turns out that these waves can have various measurable effects, such as the Casimir-Polder force.
The new approach focuses on the momentum associated with these electromagnetic fields rather than the force they exert. The question is whether it is possible to modify this momentum because, if you can, you should receive an equal and opposite kick. That’s what rocket scientists call propulsion.
Today, Alex Feigel at the Soreq Nuclear Research Center, a government lab in Yavne Israel, suggests an entirely new way to modify the momentum of the quantum vacuum and how this can be exploited to generate propulsion. Feigel’s approach combines two well-established ideas.
The first is the Lorentz force experienced by a charged particle in electric and magnetic fields that are crossed. The second is the magneto-electric effect, the phenomenon in which an external magnetic field induces a polarised internal electric field in certain materials, and vice versa.
The question that Feigel asks is in what circumstances the electromagnetic fields in a quantum vacuum can exert a Lorentz force. The answer is that the quantum vacuum constantly interacts with magneto-electric materials generating Lorentz forces. Most of the time, however, these forces sum to zero.
However, Feigel says there are four cases in which the forces do not sum to zero. Two of these are already known, for example confining the quantum field between two plates, which excludes longer wavelength waves.
But Feigel says the two others offer entirely new ways to exploit the quantum vacuum using magneto-electric nanoparticles to interact with the electromagnetic fields it contains.
The first method is to rapidly aggregate a number of magneto-electric nanoparticles, a process which influences the boundary conditions for higher frequency electromagnetic waves, generating a force.
The second one, is to simply rotate a group of magneto-electric nanoparticles, which also generates a Lorentz force.
Either way, the result is a change in velocity. As Feigel puts it: “mechanical action of quantum vacuum on magneto-electric objects may be observable and have a significant value.”
The beauty of Feigel’s idea is that it can be easily tested. He suggests building an addressable array of magneto-electric nanoparticles, perhaps made of a material such as FeGaO3 which has a magneto-electric constant of 10^-4 in a weak magnetic field.
These nanoparticles simply have to be rotated in the required way to generate a force. Feigel calls it a magneto-electric quantum wheel.
Of course, nobody is getting a free lunch here. “Although the proposed engine will consume energy for manipulation of the particles, the propulsion will occur without any loss of mass,” says Feigel. He even suggests, with masterful understatement, that this might have practical implications.
So here is a high-risk idea with a huge potential payoff. The question is: Who has the balls to try it?