The European Physical Journal D

, 67:58

The quantum vacuum as the origin of the speed of light


  • Marcel Urban
    • LALUniversité Paris-Sud, CNRS/IN2P3
  • François Couchot
    • LALUniversité Paris-Sud, CNRS/IN2P3
    • LALUniversité Paris-Sud, CNRS/IN2P3
  • Arache Djannati-Atai
    • APCUniversité Paris Diderot, CNRS/IN2P3
Regular Article

DOI: 10.1140/epjd/e2013-30578-7

Cite this article as:
Urban, M., Couchot, F., Sarazin, X. et al. Eur. Phys. J. D (2013) 67: 58. doi:10.1140/epjd/e2013-30578-7


We show that the vacuum permeability μ0 and permittivity ε0 may originate from the magnetization and the polarization of continuously appearing and disappearing fermion pairs. We then show that if we simply model the propagation of the photon in vacuum as a series of transient captures within these ephemeral pairs, we can derive a finite photon velocity. Requiring that this velocity is equal to the speed of light constrains our model of vacuum. Within this approach, the propagation of a photon is a statistical process at scales much larger than the Planck scale. Therefore we expect its time of flight to fluctuate. We propose an experimental test of this prediction.


Quantum Optics
Download to read the full article text

Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013