Re: Vacuum power? Zero point energy?
Lots of good posts and links.
Here's another good one:
It talks a lot about Black Holes and Hawking Radiation. (The site explains things from the top down with pretty pictures.):
I'm going to assume that you've heard of Heisenberg Uncertainty where you can not know the exact location and momentum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle there's another part to that occasion and that's exact energy and time or delta-E delta-t. The uncertainty in energy and uncertainty in time must be >= h-bar ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirac%27s_constant ) . Since h-bar is not 0, that means that neither energy nor time can be zero either.
Since energy is non-zero, and the energy of a photon is E = h * f and we need 2 photons because momentum must be conserved. So we have 2*h*f * delta-t >= h-bar . ( The Casimir Effect at least partially comes from unbalaced forces http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect . ) Now we have two photons or particles with equivelant energy. Hawking radiation will occures when one of these particles falls into a black hole and mutual annhilation is not possible.
But this is where the vacuum energy comes from: since the potential of free space is non-zero, there are always virtual particles and these particles can be used as a source of energy.