Foundations of Physics

, Volume 49, Issue 8, pp 797–815 | Cite as

Testing a Quantum Inequality with a Meta-analysis of Data for Squeezed Light

  • G. Jordan MaclayEmail author
  • Eric W. Davis


In quantum field theory, coherent states can be created that have negative energy density, meaning it is below that of empty space, the free quantum vacuum. If no restrictions existed regarding the concentration and permanence of negative energy regions, it might, for example, be possible to produce exotic phenomena such as Lorentzian traversable wormholes, warp drives, time machines, violations of the second law of thermodynamics, and naked singularities. Quantum Inequalities (QIs) have been proposed that restrict the size and duration of the regions of negative quantum vacuum energy that can be accessed by observers. However, QIs generally are derived for situations in cosmology and are very difficult to test. Direct measurement of vacuum energy is difficult and to date no QI has been tested experimentally. We test a proposed QI for squeezed light by a meta-analysis of published data obtained from experiments with optical parametric amplifiers and balanced homodyne detection. Over the last three decades, researchers in quantum optics have been trying to maximize the squeezing of the quantum vacuum and have succeeded in reducing the variance in the quantum vacuum fluctuations to \(-\,15\) dB. To apply the QI, a time sampling function is required. In our meta-analysis different time sampling functions for the QI were examined, but in all physically reasonable cases the QI is violated by much or all of the measured data. This brings into question the basis for QI. Possible explanations are given for this surprising result.


Squeezed light Quantum inequality Vacuum energy Vacuum fluctuations Negative energy Optical parametric amplifier 



We are very grateful to Peter Milonni and Larry Ford for helpful discussions and comments. We would like to thank the Institute for Advanced Studies At Austin and H. E. Puthoff for supporting this work.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quantum Fields LLCSt. CharlesUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced Studies at AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Early Universe, Cosmology and Strings Group, Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering ResearchBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

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