The Unruh-effect connects quantum theory and relativity. Until now, it could not be measured. A new idea could change this – in a completely different way than ever before.
A laser beam hitting a cloud of ultra cold atoms
Is the vaccum really empty? Not necessarily. This is one of the strange results obtained by connecting quantum theory and the theory of relativity: The Unruh effect suggests that if you fly through a quantum vacuum with extreme acceleration, the vacuum no longer looks like a vacuum: rather, it looks like a warm bath full of particles. This phenomenon is closely related to the Hawking radiation from black holes.