Speed-of-light fluctuations prompted by ephemeral vacuum particles
Vacuum is one of the most intriguing concepts in physics. When observed at the quantum level, vacuum is not empty, but rather, filled with continuously appearing and disappearing particle pairs such as electron-positron or quark-antiquark pairs.
These ephemeral particles are real particles, but their lifetimes are extremely short. In their study, Urban and colleagues established, for the first time, a detailed quantum mechanism that would explain the magnetisation and polarisation of the vacuum, referred to as vacuum permeability and permittivity, and the finite speed of light. This finding is relevant because it suggests the existence of a limited number of ephemeral particles per unit volume in a vacuum.
As a result, there is a theoretical possibility that the speed of light is not fixed, as conventional physics has assumed. But it could fluctuate at a level independent of the energy of each light quantum, or photon, and greater than fluctuations induced by quantum level gravity. The speed of light would be dependent on variations in the vacuum properties of space or time.
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