J. Phys. I France
Volume 3, Numéro 5, May 1993
Page(s) 1093 - 1104
DOI: 10.1051/jp1:1993258
J. Phys. I France 3 (1993) 1093-1104

Inertia of Casimir energy

Marc-Thierry Jaekel1 and Serge Reynaud2

1  Laboratoire de Physique Théorique de l'ENS, 24 rue Lhomond 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
2  Laboratoire de Spectroscopie Hertzienne, case 74, 4 place Jussieu 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France

Moving mirrors are submitted to reaction forces by vacuum fields. The motional force is known to vanish for a single mirror uniformly accelerating in vacuum. We show that inertial forces (proportional to accelerations) arise in the presence of a second scatterer, exhibiting properties expected for a relative inertia : the mass corrections depend upon the distance between the mirrors, and each mirror experiences a force proportional to the acceleration of the other one. When both mirrors move with the same acceleration, the mass correction obtained for the cavity represents the contribution to inertia of Casimir energy. Accounting for the fact that the cavity moves as a stressed rigid body, it turns out that this contribution fits Einstein's law of inertia of energy.

12.20 - 04.90 - 42.50

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