It is generally taught to engineers that Maxwell's equations constitute a complete theoretical basis for all macroscopic electrodynamics at the engineering level. On the other hand it is also taught that other effects (e.g., pair production, vacuum polarization, zero-point fluctuations) can occur that are not predicted by Maxwell's equations, but these are at the "quantum level." It is tacitly implied that quantum vacuum effects do not relate to "engineered" systems. Yet in reality there is only one electrodynamics and to totally engineer it requires an understanding at its basis.

Quantum electrodynamics shows that the basis of all electrical phenomena is the vacuum, where tremendous fluctuations of electrical field energy occur; this energy is called the zero-point energy,1"4 and by some consideration is the modern term for the ether. Tesla65 and later Moray60 believed their devices interacted directly with the ether. Today's physics recognizes that matter interacts with the vacuum zero-point energy.1 The term commonly used to describe the interaction of charged particles with the vacuum is "vacuum polarization." Whereas, many investigators use the term only to mean pair production, here it shall include all the states of the vacuum from effects in the low field linear regime (where Maxwell's equations apply), through the nonlinear regime on the threshold of pair production, to the "bifurcation catastrophe"5 regime where pair production occurs.

In this paper, literature is identified that shows that the zero-point energy is necessary in electrodynamics and the manner in which it is needed to explain the radiation of a uniformly accelerated charge. References are also cited that demonstrate that the various elementary particles interact differently with the zero-point vacuum fluctuations. It is suggested that as a result of this interaction, ions may have different radiation characteristics than conduction electrons. This motivates the hypothesis that the ion-acoustic mode of a plasma may produce a propagating, coherent, macroscopic vacuum polarization. A qualitative vacuum polarization model is proposed to explain why conduction electrons would not readily detect this type of radiant energy. It is suggested that the ion-acoustic oscillations in Tesla's and Moray's devices absorbed longitudinal, vacuum polarization displacement currents, and that these inventors actually did discover a novel form of environmental radiant energy.

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