Electro-mechanical Casimir effect
Journal article, 2018
The dynamical Casimir effect is an intriguing phenomenon in which photons are generated from vacuum due to a non-adiabatic change in some boundary conditions. In particular, it connects the motion of an accelerated mechanical mirror to the generation of photons. While pioneering experiments demonstrating this effect exist, a conclusive measurement involving a mechanical generation is still missing. We show that a hybrid system consisting of a piezoelectric mechanical resonator coupled to a superconducting cavity may allow to electro-mechanically generate measurable photons from vacuum, intrinsically associated to the dynamical Casimir effect. Such an experiment may be achieved with current technology, based on film bulk acoustic resonators directly coupled to a superconducting cavity. Our results predict a measurable photon generation rate, which can he further increased through additional improvements such as using superconducting metamaterials.