Detection of negative energy: 4-dimensional examples

We study the response of switched particle detectors to static negative energy densities and negative energy fluxes. It is demonstrated how the switching leads to excitation even in the vacuum and how negative energy can lead to a suppression of this excitation. We obtain quantum inequalities on the detection similar to those obtained for the energy density by Ford and co-workers and in an ‘‘operational’’ context by Helfer. We reexamine the question ‘‘Is there a quantum equivalence principle?’’ in terms of our model. Finally, we briefly address the issue of negative energy and the second law of thermodynamics.
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