Energy-momentum tensor of a Casimir apparatus in a weak gravitational field: Scalar case.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent work in the literature had evaluated the energy-momentum tensor of a Casimir apparatus in a weak gravitational field, for an electromagnetic field subject to perfect conductor boundary conditions on parallel plates. The Casimir apparatus was then predicted to experience a tiny push in the upward direction, and the regularized energy-momentum tensor was evaluated to first order in the gravitational
acceleration. This analysis made it desirable to assess what happens in a simpler case. For this purpose, the present paper studies a free, real massless scalar field subject to homogeneous Dirichlet conditions on the parallel plates. Working again to first order in the constant gravity acceleration, the resulting regularized and renormalized energy-momentum tensor is found to be covariantly conserved, while the trace anomaly vanishes if the massless scalar field is conformally coupled to gravity. Conformal coupling also ensures a finite Casimir energy and finite values of the pressure upon parallel plates.


  • Giampiero Esposito
  • George Napolitano
  • Luigi Rosa
External organisations
  • External Organization - Unknown
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Probability Theory and Statistics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105011-1-105011-7
JournalPhysical Review D (Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology)
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes