Virtual Particles (Would this work?)

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ihwip

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OK, I was thinking about virtual quantum particles yesterday. If particle/antiparticle pairs are constantly appearing and disappearing could we take advantage of them with an electromagnet?

Say you built a particle accelerator in space. Could you use it to pull these pairs apart? For instance if an electron/positron pair were created, a negative charge could pull in the positron while repelling the electron. As they were seperated they would not be able to annihilate each other. They could then be collected etc.

Would this work?
 
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Payloadcontroller

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Not only does it work, that's what's done to study them.

In addition, when virtual particle pairs are produced, their momenta (hence velocity vectors) are in opposite directions to conserve momentum. It's when they spiral back around in a magnetic field and hit that they're annihilated.

So a deliberately oriented magfield does indeed separate them.

The real problem is getting the energy sufficient to generate LOTS of virtual pairs.
 
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ihwip

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OK, now here is where I want to go with this. Imagine if you will a gigantic hollow open ended cylinder in space with a nuclear reactor and one heck of an electromagnetic that basically worked like a straight atom smasher. Could you produce thrust? I am thinking that you could in small amounts but it would still not be massless thrust as anti-particles strike the cylinder and annihilate the surface materials.

Or could we make a mass-less electromagnetic caterpillar drive out of this concept?
 
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