I've suggested (& published in 15 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by relativistic horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration & the emdrive without any dark stuff or adjustment.
My Plymouth University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch

Thursday, 14 July 2016


It would be good to test MiHsC directly with an experiment. One proposal I made in a paper in 2013 (see reference) was to try to damp Unruh waves on one side of an object so that the Unruh waves that impact it on the other side push it along. The problem is that Unruh waves are lightyears long for normal low accelerations, and you'd have to accelerate/spin a disc very fast to make Unruh waves short enough so they can be damped by standard technology. Accelerating heavy discs is problematic.

Since then I've shown that MiHsC seems to predict the emdrive fairly well, and this implies that MiHsC also modifies the collective inertial mass of photons (McCulloch, 2016). The logical conclusion is, instead of using heavy discs, why not rotate light in a similar way? The method would be as follows: put photons into a fibre-optic loop (see the white loop in the diagram) and put a metal baffle on one side (the grey rectangle).

The photons will circle around the loop at light speed so that their acceleration will be huge and the Unruh waves they see will be of a similar size to the loop, and their electromagnetic component might therefore be damped by putting a metal shield on the left of the loop (the grey rectangle). That means there will be more Unruh waves hitting the fibre-optic loop from the right (more orange colour) than from the left (less orange) so the loop should move left. It rolls down a gradient in the Unruh radiation field.

I've done a simple calculation, and shown that if 2 Watts of power is put into the loop as photons, and if the loop has a Q factor of 10^6 then the thrust should be something like 21 mN multiplied by the efficiency of the damper in damping Unruh radiation (which I do not know, but the emdrive suggests might be close to one). This would be a kind of emdrive using light, not microwaves. A LEMdrive?


McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from a asymmetric Casimir effect, EPL, 101, 59001. Preprint

McCulloch, M.E., 2016. Testing quantised inertia on the emdrive. EPL, 111, 60005. Preprint


Ulrik Sorber said...

You could test with a fiber coil with one to many windings plus a fiber amplifier.

Since you would not care about data noise but only signal strength the,
setup could be made a lot more effective regarding power to weight.
Possibly the LEMP would be ten to hundred times lighter than the EMdrive at equivalent signal output.

KAP said...

A fiber-optic loop is by definition reflective of photons, keeping them within the fiber. This reflectivity should also affect any Unruh radiation emitted by those photons, at least at some wavelengths, and that should have some effect (perhaps major) on thrust computations.

Nevertheless, it would be an interesting (and cheap!) experiment to run.

parapraxis said...

This is a great idea for testing your hypothesis, and would obviously have many practical applications if it works. It would probably be much easier to test than the EM Drive.

I do have some questions. Wouldn't the proximity of the Earth and/or other metal to the fiber loop in your testing environment (e.g., metal building materials) potentially provide shielding of the Unruh waves? Would the distance between the shield and loop be expected to make a difference?

Jack Cole said...

Not sure it will matter, but the effective speed of the light in the fiber optic cable is more like .7c.

Mike McCulloch said...

Ulrik: The best option would be to have a loop for the photons to go around many thousands of times, providing a large Q factor. So, a closed loop, if such a thing exists.

Mike McCulloch said...

KAP: True: internal reflections would produce Unruh waves too. The damper would need to be tuned to damp the Unruh wavelength due to the acceleration of the looped motion (placed at the antinodes of the wave).

Mike McCulloch said...

Parapraxis: Other metal in the vicinity should also have an effect. The trick would be, as I said above, to put the damper at the anti-nodes of the Unruh waves associated with the acceleration due to the main looping motion: so at 1/4 and 3/4 of a wavelength away.

Mike McCulloch said...

Jack Cole: Good point, c would be reduced in the fibr-optic. Interestingly, 0.7c would boost the predicted thrust (F~PQpi/c), but would not effect the wavelength of the Unruh waves or the position of the damper.

Damian Młodziankowski said...

Light under an object causes that object to gain weight.

Jack Cole said...

Is there reason to think that light through fiber optic cable might work better than electricity through a conductor?

A relatively easy experiment might involve either a platform floating on water or a setup using a low friction track.

Ulrik Sorber said...

>The best option would be to have a loop for the photons to go around many thousands of times
Or perhaps a stack of thin sheets ( squares ) where light could bounce from one edge to the other?
Basically to form a volume with thousands of layers.
The light would zig zag from one side to side on each layer before waterfalling / reflecting from one layer to the next.
In such a sandwich design you could either have one metal (Unruh) barrier at the top.
Or each layer could have its own barrier.
With barriers at each level you might create gaps matching the light reflections using numbers of Pi to avoid Unruh cancellation in the vertical plane from walls shadowing through the layers in the stack.

To keep things simple a fiber spiral could be used to approximate a disc shape.
Add a metal barrier at one side of the disc and send light through with a loop back at the other side.
Multiple discs could be added to create a stack.

tyy said...

Is this physics? Even from the edge.

Not sure it is.

Mike McCulloch said...

Ulrik: I like your light-waterfall. A simpler option might be lasers or masers, which reflect light between mirrors.

Zephir said...

I'm afraid, that the actual model of EMDrive will be more complex than this theory and it must consider the yield of recombined photons polarized with reflection - which is something, which involves the geometry of cavity between others. I've also problem with explanations of local forces based on distant informational horizons (including gravity), no matter how well it may fit some experimental results.

Alain Coetmeur said...

By the way, about unruh waves, is it only EM wave, and not other kind of particles, bosons, fermions-pairs ?
of course many of those are local (W/Z, gluons) or interacting quickly (charger fermions, neutrons) , maybe that is why it seems EM "mirrors" are most importants ?
maybe unruh neutrinos pairs are to be considered?

I don't understand well that sea of ZPE particles.

Mike McCulloch said...

Zephir: the way I have applied MiHsC to the emdrive is an approximation, but a reasonable one given the large uncertainties in the data. A full treatment needs a 'waves in cavity' model which I do not have.

Regarding non-local influences, note that the phase speed of monochromatic (Unruh) waves is not limited to the speed of light.

Mike McCulloch said...

Alain: Unruh waves are waves in all the particles' fields.

Mike Lorrey said...

How is your theory different from Woodward's Mach Effect Theory?

Mike McCulloch said...

Very different. Woodward's theory, as far as I understand it, is based on higher order effects derived from general relativity and predicts transient mass fluctuations in objects absorbing energy while accelerating, among other things.

MiHsC is built by combining quantum mechanics and special relativity in a new way, and gets rid of the need for gravity (GR). So the two theories are very different.

Nevertheless, some of Woodward's experiments look to me like they might be explained by MiHsC, but I haven't looked at it in detail, for various reasons.

Czeko said...

Not related to this post : https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/latest-search-dark-matter-comes-empty

Science at its best still chasing unicorns... :)

Mike McCulloch said...

Czeko: Thanks for that. I've tweeted it..

qraal said...

Same DM non-detection reported elsewhere...


When will they start thinking "Gee maybe the modified inertia/gravity idea makes more sense?"

Not that there's not plenty of weird critters in the Particle Physics Bestiary to be possible candidates, but they're all proving to be Unicorns.

coldsponger said...

If the force is inversely proportional to the speed of light in the material, why not pick a material (or meta material) with the highest potential Q and the lowest speed of light?

Alas, Google just gives me all the initiatives to boost the speed of light. Those real time traders have a lot of money to spend...

tyy said...

Of course it is tempting to try to find a shortcut in understanding chaotic and complex reality, but pondering such clearly false ideas seems like a massive waste of time to me.

But hey! It's a free world.

coldsponger said...

Alas, to energize a closed fiber loop, you need a pump combiner, of which the efficiency is about 95%. You'll lose half of your power after 13 times around the loop.

(see http://www.dkphotonics.com/product/2X1-Pump-Combiner.html)

I don't think you are going to get a Q of 10^6 from any available optical cable components. I suspect if you take a 100m cable and loop it with a diameter of 1/2 meter (200 turns) along with a good pump combiner you might get a Q of 2000 or so.

Stuart Matthews said...


Wouldnt a Fabry-Pérot interferometer detect the perturbation of the photons? (lots of bounces) Basically just move the shield over the top of the device, if Unruh radiation perturbs the photons you should see a change in the interference pattern. My physics is too rusty to trust my calculation.

Mike McCulloch said...

Good suggestion. The Unruh waves would have wavelengths of a cm or so, so it'd be necessary to move the shield to expected nodes & antinodes, & look for a change..

Jonathan Card said...

You mean a ring resonator like this? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_ring_resonators

No amplifier needed like in a recirculating fiber loop. https://www.rp-photonics.com/recirculating_fiber_loops.html

This is very interesting. Maybe the next project if I ever get this cavity working. (I'm buildanemdrive.org guy)

Mike Smirh said...

One of the few sites ive seen real physics brainstorming without fear of looking stupid or "out of the mainstream" kudos. For some of these ideas can't you plug in the variables with comsol and determine if their is a useful effect? On an unrelated topic, I saw where it was claimed that many of the black holes are aligned. 1. Do you agree that they are and 2. If the are, what would be some of the theories that would account for that phenomena?

Mike McCulloch said...

Mike S: Many thanks. Indeed, you cannot do progressive science if you are worried about looking daft. That was one of the first lessons we learned from Socrates.

Re: comsol, I'm wary of computer simulations, and much prefer working things out on paper because there's nothing 'hidden', but it may come to that..

It is right that many quasars are aligned, and quantised inertia predicts something like that, please see: