Teslas Investigations

The macroscopic vacuum polarization hypothesis maybe applicable to explain Tesla's attempts to transmit and receive energy through high-potential devices (e.g., the tow ers at Colorado Springs63 and Wardenclyffe64). The key transducer element in these structures would be the brush discharge corona around the sphere atop the towers. In order to allow coherent ion oscillations in this corona, it is most important to avoid sparking, for this will produce ion turbulence and disrupt the oscillations. Tesla avoided the sparking discharges by mounting smooth hemispherical capacitive structures at the top of his towers.64 The circuit that energizes and couples to the corona would have to be tuned at the corona's ion-acoustic frequency. The tuning value is difficult to calculate, for the corona itself will increase the capacitance of the excitation circuit and alter its resonant frequency. Corona discharge studies6^67 show that a stable, brush discharge corona can be induced by a unipolar radio frequency pulse burst. If the radio frequency matches the corona's ion-acoustic frequency, then a stable, coherent ion-acoustic oscillation can be maintained. This supports Corum's68 suggestion that Tesla may have employed an X-ray ionization switch in order to achieve rectification of the driving radio frequency to induce and stabilize the corona atop his tower. If a stable ion-acoustic oscillation can be induced in the corona, then impinging vacuum polarization displacement currents could sympathetically couple to it and the energy could be absorbed into the coupled driving circuit.

Ion-acoustic oscillations may also be important for the production of ball lightning. Ball lightning69,70 may be produced by replicating the bucking phase condition that Tesla associated with its production.71 ion-acoustic oscillations must first be induced in the corona around the Tesla coil. Then a signal or pulse must be abruptly switched into the circuit such that it is 180 degrees out of phase with the ion-acoustic oscillations. This bucking condition may induce a "vacuum polarization implosion" that could trigger the plasma to enfold into a vortex ring.72*74 An anomalously long persistence of ball lightning triggered at relatively low energy levels could demonstrate the existence of macroscopic, coherent, self-organizing resonant states maintained by the zero-point energy.

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