Regular Article - Theoretical Physics
Probing thermal fluctuations through scalar test particles
Instituto de Ciências Exatas, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, 36036-330, Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil
2 Instituto de Física e Química, Universidade Federal de Itajubá, 37500-903, Itajubá, Minas Gerais, Brazil
3 PPGCosmo, CCE-Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, 29075-910, Vitória, Brazil
4 Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, 15980-900, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil
5 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Seoul National University, 08826, Seoul, Korea
Accepted: 3 May 2021
Published online: 16 May 2021
The fundamental vacuum state of quantum fields, related to Minkowski space, produces divergent fluctuations that must be suppressed in order to bring reality to the description of physical systems. As a consequence, negative vacuum expectation values of classically positive-defined quantities can appear. This has been addressed in the literature as subvacuum phenomenon. Here it is investigated how a scalar charged test particle is affected by the vacuum fluctuations of a massive scalar field in D + 1 spacetime when the background evolves from empty space to a thermal bath, and also when a perfectly reflecting boundary is included. It is shown that when the particle is brought into a thermal bath it gains an amount of energy by means of positive dispersions of its velocity components. The magnitude of this effect is dependent on the temperature and also on the field mass. However, when a reflecting wall is inserted, dispersions can be positive or negative, showing that subvacuum effect happens even in a finite temperature environment. Furthermore, a remarkable result is that temperature can even improve negative velocity fluctuations. The magnitude of the residual effects depends on the switching interval of time the system takes to evolve between two states.
© The Author(s) 2021
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funded by SCOAP3